DETERMINED skipper Tommy Elphick vowed to lead by example and fight hard to regain his place after missing Cherries’ Championship opener.

Elphick admitted that sitting out Cherries’ curtain-raiser had come as a “massive blow” after boss Eddie Howe opted to pair Steve Cook and Elliott Ward at centre-half.

The club captain was forced to settle for a watching brief as Howe’s men started their second tier campaign with an impressive victory over Charlton Athletic.

But the 25-year-old, who played a pivotal role in Cherries’ promotion triumph, returned to action and staked his claim in last night's League Cup victory over Portsmouth.

And Brighton-born Elphick says he will show a professional attitude in his bid to battle back and become a regular in Cherries’ Championship line-up.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo, the central defender said: “It was a massive blow but it was one game of 46.

“The gaffer felt that I wasn’t quite up to speed and it is probably going to take me a little bit longer to get up to speed, and games like last night help.

“With the injuries I have had, it might take me a little bit longer to get to my peak and I am fully supportive of that.

“The main thing was that the team won and nobody was happier than me on Saturday night having seen the team win.”

Elphick continued: “Football can tame lions and it can change round very quickly. You are club captain, player of the year and you have it in the back of your mind that you think you are going to start the first game of the season. You have that vision of leading out the lads in a new league, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“The two lads that played did fantastically well. Cooky has had a really good pre-season and I am fully behind the two. I am champing at the bit and I want to get back in the side as soon as possible. I am only going to do that by showing a good attitude and working hard every day.”

Elphick says his approach will not change as he bids to regain his spot at the top of Cherries' defensive pecking order.

He added: “A big part of my game is being bright and a positive influence on the others. If I start showing a bad attitude then who am I to look up to?

“You are not going to get anything out of sulking and dragging your heels so it is important that I get fit, get up to speed as quickly as possible and push the other two on. It is just important that I get back to what I do best and I felt I set a good platform for myself to kick on again (against Portsmouth).”