CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe believes elevating Baily Cargill to the first-team ranks has boosted significantly the young defender’s progression.

Cargill, a product of the club’s youth set-up and unearthed by Joe Roach during his first spell at Dean Court, has been training regularly with Howe’s squad for the past few months.

The 18-year-old, who was voted AFC Totton’s player of the year last season, has also benefited from a fruitful loan spell with Conference outfit Welling recently.

Cargill, who was born in October 1995 – two months before Howe made his Cherries debut as an 18-year-old – was rewarded for his progress in November when he penned a two-and-a-half year contract.

Although Cargill signed a 12-month deal after successfully graduating from the youth ranks in the summer, Howe moved swiftly to tie him to a longer contract following a series of eye-catching displays for the club’s development squad.

Howe, whose squad was boosted by the return of central defender Elliott Ward at Charlton, told the Daily Echo: “We are pleased with Baily’s progress and he has improved for the experience of training with us every day.

“Whether he gets an opportunity this season will be dependent on injuries, suspensions and, of course, his own form. Everyone will be picked on merit. At the moment, he is doing well but he has people ahead of him so we will see how he goes.”