BOSS Eddie Howe is hoping another successful cup run could further enhance Cherries’ Championship challenge during the second half of the campaign.

Howe is expected to fully utilise his squad when Cherries visit Rotherham in the third round of the FA Cup tomorrow (3pm kick-off).

Cherries’ exploits in reaching the quarter-final of the League Cup – with Howe often fielding much-changed teams – coincided with them climbing the table.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “We would love a run in the FA Cup. The one we had in the League Cup did us no harm at all. In fact, if anything, it started the really good run of form we have been able to maintain.

“The aim is to do the same with the FA Cup. I have always made my feelings very clear on the competition – I love it and would love for us to go as far as we possibly can.

“I do think it is a good chance for us to rotate the squad and change things slightly so we will have to try to pick the strongest team we can while giving people who need games some minutes on the pitch.”

Some managers have been accused of devaluing the FA Cup by fielding perceived weakened teams in the competition in recent years, although most would argue a team’s league position should be their priority.

Howe, who has guided Cherries to the top of the Championship thanks to a 14-match unbeaten run, added: “There are a lot of things you have to consider when you are in our position.

“We feel we have a very evenly-balanced squad with very good players who aren’t playing every week due to the fact the team has been in such good form and our team selection has been so consistent because the lads with the shirts have warranted playing every week.

“During the early part of the season, a lot of the players who will play against Rotherham were playing week in, week out in the Championship so we are certainly not devaluing the competition in my opinion. We will do what is right for Bournemouth because that is what I think we have to do.”

Goalkeeper Artur Boruc will definitely sit out as he did not meet the FA Cup player registration deadline due to his new loan going through once the transfer window has reopened tomorrow.

Delivering an injury roll-call, Howe said there were “a couple of niggles but nothing too serious” before adding that Ian Harte had been training for a couple of weeks after recovering from his calf problem.

Long-term injury victims Elliott Ward and Joe Partington have been pencilled in to make their respective comebacks when Cherries host Luton in the Final Third Development League on Tuesday. Depending on the weather, the clash will either take place at Canford Arena or on the training pitches at Dean Court.