CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe felt Adam Smith’s man-of-the-match exploits against Nottingham Forest had highlighted the importance of a strong squad.

Smith was drafted in for his first Championship start of the season after regular right-back Simon Francis had been ruled out by a hamstring injury.

The 23-year-old turned in an eye-catching display, especially during the first half when he combined with Matt Ritchie to give Michail Antonio and Danny Fox a torrid time, the Forest pair subsequently hauled off at the break.

Smith, who started and finished his first league game for Cherries since his January move from Spurs, was also pivotal in the move which saw Callum Wilson strike to give Howe’s team the lead in the second half.

The former England under-21 international, who played under Howe during a youth loan at Dean Court in 2010-11, was restricted by the impressive form of supporters’ player of the year Francis to five appearances last season.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “I thought Adam was very good against Forest and it was a compliment to him that they had to take off Antonio. He has been excellent for them at the start of the season but Adam ran him ragged and attacked very well inside and out.

“I thought he showed his class and, hopefully, there is more to come from him.

“Simon Francis has been a model of consistency so Adam has had to be patient and bide his time. But we have never doubted his qualities and what he can bring to the team.

“He is different to Simon but it is good to have two such strong players because when one isn’t there for whatever reason, the other one has to step in.”

Howe added: “It is key players are ready to come in because that chance they think will never come at one moment is there the next and it is only through your professionalism and application to what you do every day that you are able to take that chance.”

Francis, who looked on from a seat in the Main Stand as goals from Britt Assombalonga and Matty Fryatt earned Forest a 2-1 win, could again be missing when Cherries head to Blackburn on Saturday.

Howe said: “He felt his hamstring after about 60 minutes against Brentford and it was a strange one because he was able to carry on. He had a scan and it showed a minute bit of damage so we will have to wait and see how long he is out.”