FANS’ favourite Harry Arter is set to give injury-hit Cherries a timely boost by finally hitting the comeback trail.

Arter, who has been sidelined since the summer, is tonight due to line up for Cherries in their Under-21 Premier League Cup tie at Colchester.

The midfielder is expected to feature for between 45 and 60 minutes at United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium (7pm kick-off).

Arter has been troubled by a persistent groin injury since June and returned to full training with Eddie Howe’s squad at the end of last month.

The 25-year-old, who enjoyed an injury-free campaign as Cherries won promotion to the top flight, had an operation to rectify the problem in August.

Arter, who lifted the prestigious Daily Echo-Micky Cave supporters’ player-of-the-year trophy after netting eight goals in 43 Championship appearances last season, initially sustained the injury while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo, Cherries boss Howe said last night: “Harry has made good progress and will take his first steps back into match action with the under-21s. Depending on how he feels, we plan to give him 45 to 60 minutes.

“He has been training with us for around a week and has worked very hard.

"Before he came back, he did a lot of work with the physios and Dan Hodges and his team and worked tirelessly on building up his fitness. He looks in good shape so this is the next step for him.”

Howe did not wish to be drawn on when Arter might be in contention for the first team, adding: “The most import thing for Harry will be to come through this game injury-free and with no ill effects. Then, we would look to move him forward quite quickly.”

Arter will be joined by striker Yann Kermorgant who is also set to feature for Stephen Purches’s team against Colchester with Howe keen to give the Frenchman more game time.

Kermorgant has been restricted to two substitute appearances in the Premier League – against Aston Villa and Norwich – and also started against Hartlepool and Preston in the League Cup.

Cherries earned their place in the second qualifying round thanks to a 2-1 win at Gillingham last month courtesy of goals from Sam Surridge and Ben Whitfield.

Cherries are one of 25 clubs with Academies from Category Two and Three in the final qualification round of the competition.

The draw is split into two regions with the winners joining Leeds, who received a bye, in the first round proper alongside the 19 Category One clubs.