CHERRIES are set to ease their defensive worries after agreeing to sign Southampton defender Martin Cranie on a month's loan.

With Warren Cummings expected to be out until the middle of November at the earliest and Eddie Howe due to return to Portsmouth next weekend, Sean O'Driscoll has called on the 18-year-old England under-20 star to bridge the gap in the interim.

Saints have allowed the talented youngster to gain League One experience and agreed to send him down the coast to aid O'Driscoll's attempts to bring in cover.

Yeovil-born Cranie made his Premiership debut in the 4-0 defeat at Chelsea last season and although it will probably be remembered for him scoring an own goal on his first senior appearance, he turned in a solid display to largely contain Jesper Gronkjaer.

This season his chances at St Mary's have been restricted to just one substitute appearance in the recent Carling Cup win over Northampton but he will go straight into the squad for Saturday's home clash with Barnsley.