KEVIN Bond will be on a watching brief when Cherries reserves field two triallists in their Pontin's Holidays Combination fixture at Crystal Palace today (1pm kick-off).

The Cherries boss and assistant Rob Newman will be casting a careful eye over strikers Steve Diggin and Morike Sako as Eddie Howe takes charge of his first reserve fixture.

Sako - a 6ft7in giant of a forward - is looking to play at a higher level after his contract expired at Rochdale last month, while Diggin has been earning rave reviews at non-league Cogenhoe United.

Howe, who saw last week's reserve fixture at QPR called off because of a waterlogged pitch, has a very young squad at his disposal for his management bow.

With only Gareth Stewart, Josh Gowling, Danny Hollands and Stephen Cooke with any extensive Cherries first-team experience behind them, Joe Roach's youth ranks will make up the rest of the squad, as Callum Hart and Karl Broadhurst are not quite ready to return from their respective injuries.

Howe said: "Callum is close to a return and he was keen to play, but Steve Hard (Cherries physio) decided it was just too soon for him.

"I think Broady could have played if it was essential, but it was decided that it wasn't worth the risk."

Howe added: "It'll be good to get a game on after last week's postponement.

"A lot of the players are itching to play because it has been so long and a lot of them really need a game.

"The manager will be there watching and it is a chance for these players to impress him."

Cherries reserves: (from) Stewart, Gowling, Sampson, Franks, Coutts, Hollands, Khalil, Allen, Cooke, Diggin, Sako, Sainsbury, McQuoid, Pryce, Mills, Platt.