MIDFIELD star Harry Arter has spoken out in defence of the Capital One Cup ahead of Cherries’ trip to Exeter this evening.

Arter made his professional debut in the competition for Charlton as a 16-year-old in 2007 and insists it should be taken seriously.

He told the Daily Echo: “People say it’s not important if they get knocked out and if they are doing well then they say it’s a great cup.

“If I were to play then my focus and desire to win the game would be exactly the same as in any other match.”

Cherries boss Eddie Howe has admitted he will rotate his side for tonight’s tie at St James' Park (7.45pm).

Arter added: “The manager can afford to change the team round because of the depth and quality we’ve got.

“If he wants to change things then it gives other people the opportunity.”