EDDIE Howe says Joshua King's sterling current form is down to the striker developing a "firm belief" in his own ability.

King assumed the mantle of Cherries' attack leader following the injury to Callum Wilson that ended the former Coventry man's season early in February.

And the Norwegian international has thrived on the responsibility, bagging nine goals in his past ten games.

Prior to being deployed up-front for the visit to Everton on February 4 – when he scored twice – King's 22 Premier League outings this term had yielded four goals.

He scored six times in 31 top-flight appearances last season, his first with Cherries following a £1million move from Championship team Blackburn Rovers.

"Joshua is performing very well and he has been consistent," said Howe.

"He improved rapidly from the early stages of last season and adapted quickly to the demands of the Premier League.

"He is looking very confident now. That is probably the biggest difference from the player we signed, to the player he is now: confidence levels.

"In front of goal I think he believes he will score. And I think he goes into games believing he will have chances.

"That is a key thing for any striker, to have that real firm belief in themselves."

King has previously been accused of lacking the devil in his game to kick on and be a real force at the highest level.

But Howe insisted he never doubted that the 25-year-old – who had not played Premier League football prior to his transfer to Dorset – possessed the edge to succeed against the very best defences.

"He always had that element to his game," continued the Cherries boss. "That was one of the first things I noticed about him. He has a great work ethic and that has not changed.

"The only change is him believing he will score when he gets in good areas.

"He is in that frame of mind now where, every time he goes on the pitch, he firmly believes he can do something."