CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe said a lack of first-team opportunities had led to Frank Demouge being allowed to return to his Dutch homeland.

Demouge – the club’s marquee summer signing – is today set to put the finishing touches to a loan move to Roda JC having made just two appearances for Cherries.

The 30-year-old striker will link up with the Dutch top-flight outfit until the end of the season after failing to make an impact since being signed on a free transfer by Paul Groves.

Targetman Demouge netted seven times in 20 appearances for FC Utrecht last season before penning a two-year contract at Dean Court.

But he was struck down by injury in his first training session with Cherries and missed the first two months of the season with a nagging knee problem.

And despite starting in defeats against Walsall and Crawley at the end of Groves’s tenure, Demouge was unable to force his way back into the team.

With Lewis Grabban, Brett Pitman and Matt Tubbs performing well in Cherries’ attack, and Steve Fletcher, Wes Thomas, Charlie Sheringham and Jayden Stockley also on the club’s books, Demouge was granted permission for a loan switch.

The Dutchman was also under stood to have attracted interest from Willem II and NEC and is believed to have turned down a loan move to League Two strugglers Aldershot last week.

Boss Howe told the Daily Echo: “We have quality players in that position and Frank has found it difficult to get a chance to stake his claim. Due to the form of those players, he has been short of match time.

“We have watched him in training and in reserve games and don’t feel he has warranted a place ahead of the other strikers.

“With the age that Frank is, I think he has to take that into account as well. He wants to play football and I can understand that.

“Our preference was to see him in England because that is the only way we are going to develop his game and get it suited to the English style. We know he can play in the Dutch league but it is very different over here.

“But his preference was Holland and we could understand that, so he goes with our best wishes.”

Howe added: “It has been a big transition for Frank this season, coming in from Holland and trying to adjust to English football.

“With the good run we have been on and the strikers we have in our squad, it has been difficult to give him an opportunity.

“The lads have done so well in that position that we haven’t wanted to change too much, so Frank expressed a desire to go back to Holland for a spell. Due to the numbers in the squad and a lack of opportunities for him, we agreed to that request.”