EUNAN O’Kane admitted the circumstances of his return to the Cherries starting line-up were “not ideal” but hoped to have done enough to keep his place.

The midfielder was restored to Eddie Howe’s first XI at Blackpool after remaining on the bench for the 5-0 win over Doncaster and missing the 1-0 defeat to Derby due to a hip injury.

O’Kane’s appearance in the 1-0 win over Blackpool was his 27th of the season and came after Harry Arter was ruled out with calf problem.

And O’Kane has his fingers crossed that he can keep hold of a starting berth, despite strong competition for places in central midfield.

He told the Daily Echo: “From a personal point of view it was a little bit frustrating that I didn’t get straight back in against Doncaster, but I think it would have been very harsh on anyone who played against Derby to miss out.

“I got my chance on Saturday because H, unfortunately, had a little bit of a niggle but hopefully, now I can keep my place in the team.

"It was not nice to have a team-mate out injured but I was ready to play. It wasn’t ideal circumstances to get back into the team in that way but that’s what a squad game is about.

“You’ve got to be ready for anything and everything and it’s about taking your chance when it comes along.”

The 23-year-old conceded that the style of football on show at Bloomfield Road on Saturday was not pleasing on the eye but stressed that Cherries’ mental strength had shone through in a game in which they had to scrap constantly.

He said: “It probably wasn’t as pretty as what people saw against Doncaster last week, but if we won every single game this season playing that way, I don’t think anyone would complain.

“It’s the ugly side of the game that we did well. Maybe five or six months ago we’d have come away with a draw or got beat in the final minute, so I think it showed the character of the squad and how far we’ve come since the start of the season.

“I don’t think there were too many places this year where we have gone and won very ugly. The aim before we came here was to get three points and one way or another, we got them.”