CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe lamented the loss to injury of Andrew Surman and admitted the "absolutely magnificent" midfielder would be sorely missed.

South Africa-born Surman limped off with 11 minutes remaining of the 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday after sustaining a hamstring problem.

That capped a miserable afternoon in the north east for Cherries, who had to play the closing stages of the contest at Riverside Stadium with just 10 men, with Howe having already used all of his substitutes.

And following the final whistle, the manager's thoughts turned to the plight of Surman, who had played an incredible 86 league games in a row prior to missing the stalemate with Spurs nine days ago due to illness.

The ex-Southampton and Wolves star did not miss a single minute of any of those 86 fixtures and Howe admitted a substantial void would be left by Surman's absence, revealing his hopes the international break in mid-November would, to some extent at least, come to the rescue.

Howe told the Daily Echo: "It looks like a hamstring strain. He has been so consistent and was ever present for a long time. He hasn't really picked up any niggles or problems.

"It's come out of the blue, really. We'll assess the damage and, hopefully, it won't be too long.

"When you see players go off with hamstring injuries, you are looking at weeks rather than days. The international break could come at a good time for him.

"He has been absolutely magnificent for us for a long period of time. He is consistent and a really good decision-maker who fits our philosophy perfectly. He is a huge player in our team and we are going to miss him for however long he is out.

"He is a great role model for our young players to look up to. He does everything right and we're delighted he is with us and, hopefully, he will be back soon."

While Surman looks almost certain to miss Saturday's clash with strugglers Sunderland at Vitality Stadium, his expected absence could hand an opportunity to Dan Gosling, who deputised impressively in the 0-0 draw against Tottenham nine days ago.

And with utility man Nathan Ake another option, Howe is content with the cover in his squad.

Asked if Surman's absence presented a good opportunity for another midfielder, Howe said: "That's how we have to look at it.

"Dan Gosling did really well when he came into the team last week and he did well when he came on against Middlesbrough, and we have Nathan Ake as well, so we're well stocked."

There was no place in the Cherries squad for winger Junior Stanislas, kept out by a calf injury which had also prevented him from featuring against Spurs.

The problem surfaced at a particularly awkward time for the former West Ham man, who had just run into fine form and had stolen the show in the 6-1 hammering of Hull City earlier this month.

Asked for the latest on the wide man, Howe said: "We just felt it was too early for Junior. We'll look again next week. We'll see how his calf responds."

The manager confirmed summer signing Brad Smith had still not trained having picked up a foot injury while on duty with Australia earlier this month.