CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe insisted sidelined Socceroos Adam Federici and Brad Smith would fight for their places at next year’s World Cup.

The Australian pair have this season both sustained injury issues while working with their country on international duty.

Goalkeeper Federici joined Nottingham Forest on loan in August before suffering a knee problem while training with Australia.

The 32-year-old underwent surgery and Howe revealed he was close to a return, with his loan spell at the City Ground having been cancelled.

Smith joined his club and national team-mate on the treatment table after suffering a hip injury in October while playing for Australia in a World Cup play-off against Syria.

The defender went to ground just eight minutes into the game in Sydney and was replaced by Huddersfield's Aaron Mooy, who played against Cherries last month.

Howe revealed Smith had seen a specialist and would be out for “a period of time”.

In the pair’s absence, Australia booked their place at the finals in Russia with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Honduras.

Following a goalless first leg, Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak scored a hat-trick in the inter-confederation play-off in Sydney.

Manager Howe said the injured pair would have time to stake their respective claims to reach football’s grandest international stage.

He told the Daily Echo: “Both boys are still recovering from their injuries.

“Adam is making good progress and I don’t think he is too far from joining in training with us.

“Brad is further back. We haven’t seen him out on the grass yet, so he has quite a long journey ahead of him. He has several hurdles to overcome.

“Certainly around the Christmas period, we will hopefully get him back involved and then he has a period of time to try to prove his worth for the World Cup.

“The World Cup is the pinnacle for a player, so the chance to represent your country at that tournament will be something they will fight tooth and nail for – to try to make those squads and lead their country to success.”

Born in Penrith, Sydney, and having moved to the UK as a 14-year-old, left-back Smith represented England at youth level before pledging his allegiance to the Australian senior set-up.

He made his debut against Belgium in September 2014 and has since won 19 caps.

Federici has represented his country on 16 occasions and was the understudy to Mark Schwarzer at the 2010 World Cup.

Asked whether a potential place in Russia would give the duo an added incentive to impress, Howe said: “Players don’t really need any extra motivation these days.

“The motivation is there for them every day and both players are great characters and motivated to be their best anyway.

“But they do have that carrot at the end and a World Cup is very special.”