MIDFIELD maestros Harry Arter and Shaun MacDonald are flourishing after being given a sense of direction by manager Eddie Howe.

That was the view provided by Arter as he offered an insight into the secrets behind the duo’s recent success in the Cherries engine room.

Playmaker Arter and cultured midfielder MacDonald have been paired together in every match since Howe’s return to the Dorset club.

The partnership has proved fruitful so far and has been a key factor in Cherries’ nine-match unbeaten run following Howe’s appointment.

MacDonald, 24, had previously played alongside former Woking star Arter since joining Cherries from Swansea City in August 2011.

Cherries assistant manager Jason Tindall recently rated them as among the best central midfielders in League One.

And 22-year-old Arter believes both he and MacDonald are improving thanks to be being given a clear brief.

Arter told the Daily Echo: “I feel we are getting the right balance now.

“When Shaun first came in, we played together and we probably didn’t have a sense of direction.

“The gaffer has pointed out which role he wants Macca to play and which role he wants me to play. It is kind of evident that we are both comfortable in those roles.

“Macca is playing a little bit more defensively-minded – that is not to say I am neglecting my defensive duties – but it gives me the opportunity to work harder up the pitch. I am able to press their defenders or press really high, which the gaffer has asked me to do.

“As much as I am the one that is probably seen tearing around and working really hard, Macca is working as hard by covering. We have got a really good balance at the moment.”

In 16 appearances this season, Arter has struck three goals and chipped in with a further three assists.

The Londoner reckons his form comes from playing in his preferred position and he was also keen to highlight the work of colleague MacDonald.

Arter added: “In the past, under the past few managers we have had here, I feel I have been lost in the sense of where I have been playing.

“I have been asked to play in positions which are probably not my ideal position. I have always felt I have been an attacking central midfielder and, if I am an attacking central midfielder, I need someone next to me who is going to be a bit defensive minded.

“As much as I am getting the limelight for scoring or setting up goals, Macca deserves recognition for the job he is doing.”

Arter and MacDonald are again both likely to start when Cherries visit Bury tomorrow (3pm).