DEFIANT Baily Cargill insists the novelty surrounding his first-team duties has been consigned to the past and declared: “I am ready for the Premier League.”

The 20-year-old homegrown defender could make his ninth start for Cherries in today’s FA Cup third-round tie at Birmingham City (3pm) 17 months after his debut at Exeter.

Cargill has been rewarded with no fewer than four contracts inside two years following his rapid ascent to the senior ranks but despite several stints on the bench has yet to be involved in a league match.

And with the Cherries’ latest cup quest on the horizon, Cargill, released by neighbours Southampton at the age of 12, is keen to state his case for top-flight action.

Cargill told the Daily Echo: “Last season, it felt like a treat whenever I played, that the gaffer was rewarding me for doing well.

“This season it feels like I’m trying to prove I’m ready to play instead of just enjoying the moment and not thinking about getting in the side every week.

“It feels like I am professional footballer now, I am part of the first-team squad and I need to show I am good enough to play rather than the manager giving a youngster a chance.

“I don’t think he sees as me as one of the young ones now, he sees me as part of his team and I don’t want people to think I am being left out because I am young, I’d prefer them to see it as me being left out because I’m not performing or training well.”

Cargill, an unused substitute seven times in the league this season, played 90 minutes in League Cup ties at Hartlepool and Preston and explained he came close to a Premier League bow during the club's well-publicised injury crisis.

Should he line up at St Andrew's, it would be Cargill's second FA Cup appearance for Cherries having played at Rotherham at the same stage last season.

“I have had moments where I thought I could get that first Premier League appearance," he added. "It is most likely to come if there is an injury during the game.

“I watch it and the standard is a lot better now (since promotion) but I don’t think it’s beyond me, I feel I am more than capable of holding my own in the Premier League.

“The manager (Eddie Howe) always talks to me and tells me he wants to play me but sometimes feels I’m not quite ready.

"I always feel that if I train and perform well, he will give me my chance and I always feel ready.

"If the gaffer stuck me in tomorrow, I think I could handle it and do a good job but he has been there and done it and I value his opinion.”