ANDREW Surman insists his place in Cherries' midfield is "by no means guaranteed" despite being tied to the club until summer 2019.

Surman was ever present during Cherries' debut Premier League season and made 41 appearances in the 2014-15 Championship-winning campaign.

The 30-year-old has become one of Eddie Howe's most trusted on-pitch lieutenants since joining from Norwich in 2013, originally on loan, but was restricted by injury to 21 top-flight starts last term.

And while Surman wants to extend his Cherries stay beyond the remainder of his current deal, he admits he cannot afford to look further than next season and a ferocious battle for midfield spots.

Surman told the Daily Echo: "I have two years left here, so we will have to see what happens. I would like to think I will be here for longer but I am not looking too far ahead.

"I am really happy here and I am not looking beyond next season at the moment.

"Last season was frustrating for me, compared to the previous one, because of the injuries I had – but I still really enjoyed it.

"You have to really embrace the fight for places, that is the nature of football. By no means do I think my place is guaranteed. You have to work for it, you really are only as good as your last game.

"Lewis Cook has done exceptionally well since he has come in, Dan Gosling has been fantastic for us – and there is Harry Arter as well!

"There is going to be enormous competition for places and that can only be good for the squad."

Surman played Cherries' final game of last season at Leicester, returning to his team's engine room just seven weeks after injuring a medial ligament against Southampton.

The draw Howe's side earned in the East Midlands secured a ninth-place finish. And Surman claimed the manager's ability to avoid "bad eggs" in the transfer market had been instrumental to Cherries' smooth acclimatisation to Premier League football.

Howe could be poised to break the club's transfer record for the fourth time in two years, with a deal worth upwards of £20million for Nathan Ake reportedly close to completion.

"It is great to be part of a team that wants to play for each other and we have good characters here – there are no bad eggs in the squad," said Surman.

"The danger going into the Premier League, sometimes, is you can buy the wrong players and the wrong characters.

"If you do not have strong characters in the dressing room, things can slowly fall away. But we have a good dressing room and it is a great team to play for.

"It makes my job a lot easier when I have such good players around me. The higher the level you go to, the squads get bigger and there are more and better players.

"You have to keep testing and challenging yourself and that will be no different next season."