CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe is yet to make a decision on Elliott Ward following the defender’s latest injury setback.

Ward’s knee swelled up following the 2-0 League Cup victory over Exeter nine days ago and he subsequently visited the Villa Stuart Sport Clinic in Rome to have the problem assessed.

The 29-year-old was due to arrive back in England today and Howe was keen to make a decision on his fitness as soon as possible.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “Elliott has been out in Italy getting his knee looked at. His knee swelled up after the Exeter game and it’s always a concern when you get a swelling in a joint.

“We will see what the next step is. No decision has been made in terms of the injury so we need to pull all the information together and see where we go from there.”

Ward went under the knife in May after his knee had flared up during Cherries’ 2-2 draw at Ipswich on Easter Monday.

The centre-half initially sustained the damage when he collided with an advertising hoarding in a 1-0 home defeat by Leicester at the start of February.

Meanwhile, Howe has admitted that right-back Simon Francis is a doubt for Saturday’s visit to Blackburn.

Francis missed Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest in the Championship after tweaking his hamstring.

While Howe admitted the 29-year-old’s condition was on the up, he was unsure whether he would be fit to be in contention to feature at Ewood Park.

Howe said: “Franno is improving all time. It is a very small hamstring problem so we are hoping we will have him back soon. Whether that is in time for Saturday, we will have to see.”