CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe has pinpointed Anthony Edgar’s versatility as one of the main reasons for swooping for the untried West Ham youngster.

Howe is today set to sign Edgar on a month’s loan with the highly-rated 19-year-old expected to go straight into the Cherries squad for Saturday’s trip to Port Vale.

Despite working under a strict transfer embargo for the past eight months, Howe was given permission by the Football League to bolster his squad due to an acute injury crisis.

Howe told the Daily Echo last night: “Anthony has been on the radar for a while. We’ve watched West Ham a number of times and he has always impressed.

“He’s a creative player and very good on the ball. He can play a number of different positions, which is a huge asset to us at the moment.

“We are delighted to be bringing him in and are thankful to West Ham for all their help. He will certainly boost competition for places and we are hoping he will come in and do well.”

With Cherries’ injury crisis showing no signs of easing and key men soldiering on through the pain barrier, Edgar’s arrival will come as a welcome boost to Howe.

Howe added: “We would probably like to bring in two or three at this stage. We do have a number of players playing with injuries and, in an ideal world, would have left out two or three at Hereford to give them time to recover.

“The character they have shown has been fantastic and the effort the boys have put in has been outstanding. We were pushed to the limit at Hereford but the boys responded and gave everything.”

Cherries’ numbers will be tested severely by the trip to League Two rivals Port Vale and a visit to Northampton in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy just three days later.

Howe said: “It was always going to be the case with the embargo that, if we were to get any injuries, they would stretch us. But I think we’ve got to look at it as another challenge.

“We’ve got really good players and a really tight squad. It’s a real test for us to respond and come back to prove to everybody that we can withstand it.”

Howe is understood to have moved for Edgar after his attempts to re-sign former Cherries loan star Maxi Gradel from Leicester bit the dust. While it is believed Gradel was keen to return, the Foxes were apparently reluctant to let him out.

It is also believed former loan signing Joel Ward, who watched Cherries’ 1-0 win over Burton Albion on Saturday, was not among Howe’s targets. The Portsmouth defender is currently recovering from a hernia.

And while the club was given the go-ahead to sign a non-contract player, sources close to the Daily Echo suggest the Football League said they would not entertain the possibility of free agent Steve Lovell joining. Lovell, Howe’s brother, turned out for Cherries in pre-season and has been training with Howe’s squad ever since.