CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe handed Ian Harte his first taste of action for more than three months and then hailed the defender as “the ultimate professional”.

Harte had been restricted to just eight games since joining Cherries in the summer, his last appearance coming during the 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest in mid-October.

The 36-year-old Irishman was called upon just 14 minutes into Cherries’ clash with Huddersfield on Tuesday after Charlie Daniels had been forced off with a thigh injury.

Harte played his part in a hard-fought 2-1 win for Howe’s team and could be in line to start when Cherries host Championship leaders Leicester on Saturday.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “The fact we could bring such an experienced player off the bench showed the strength of the squad.

“Ian’s display spoke volumes for his professionalism and attitude. Although he will have been frustrated not to have been playing, not once has he been a problem for me since he joined us.

“He has been the ultimate professional. He has trained very well every day, he has been a real team player and that is why he performed like he did.”