CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe is hoping Marc Pugh will be ready to hand his team a timely fitness boost ahead of Saturday's trip to Preston.

The skilful winger, who has scored seven goals in 33 appearances this term, was forced to sit out Cherries’ away win over Crewe on Tuesday night.

A key man for the League One title contenders this term, the popular Lancastrian did not make the journey after being hit by illness.

Howe reported that Cherries would make a late decision on the playmaker after he had returned to training with his team-mates yesterday.

The Cherries boss said he was also monitoring the fitness of Tommy Elphick after he sought a second opinion on his knee problem in midweek.

Left-back Charlie Daniels has been ruled out as he continues to rest his foot problem in a bid to avoid undergoing surgery.

Meanwhile, Howe revealed positive progress for long-term injury victim Charlie Sheringham.

Striker Sheringham has been sidelined since fracturing a bone in his foot on Boxing Day 2011.

Howe said: “Charlie has been training with the first team and it has been great to have him back involved. He is going to need a long period of training and then some games before he will be available for selection.”