MANAGER Eddie Howe believes Cherries’ “very knowledgeable” supporters made the right call in voting Simon Francis as the winner of the Daily Echo/Micky Cave player of the year.

Francis, the latest in a long line of defenders to have landed the prestigious award, received the trophy from Daily Echo reporter Andy Mitchell ahead of Cherries’ clash with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

The right-back, who remains on course to play every minute of every first-team match for Cherries this season, received 37 per cent of the vote ahead of top scorer Lewis Grabban and fellow defender Steve Cook.

Howe, who won the trophy in 1998 and 1999, told the Daily Echo: “Our supporters are one of the most knowledgeable groups I have ever known. They want their teams to play good football and they understand the game.

“That goes to show with their choice of Simon Francis because he has had an excellent campaign, both defensively and going forward, and he was a very good choice.”

Asked about Francis’s exemplary appearance record, Howe added: “It is a combination of being a very good professional, looking after your body and doing the right things. That doesn’t happen just by luck.

“He has had to really look after his body at key times, make sure he recovers well and make sure his diet is good. He is such a good pro to have around the place and full credit to him for that record. It is not easy in this day and age and that is why we are delighted to have him.”