SKIPPER Simon Francis believes Cherries’ lethal front four are in “the form of their careers” and is confident they will fire the Dorset club back to top form.

Ryan Fraser, David Brooks, Callum Wilson and Joshua King were reunited for Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal, the latter finding the net after returning from a niggling ankle problem.

Wales international Brooks provided the assist for King’s fifth goal of the campaign, while Fraser and Wilson played key roles in the rapid counter-attack which led to the Norwegian's equaliser.

Despite succumbing to their third loss on the spin, captain Francis insisted Cherries were still putting in displays to trouble the big boys in the top flight.

He told the Daily Echo: “I said before the Arsenal game that I thought our front four could win it for us. They have that kind of threat.

“Brooksy, Wee Man, Callum and Kingy are in great form – probably the form of their careers. We have to keep that confidence high and I’m sure Kingy’s will be after Sunday.

“What I liked about Kingy’s goal was he took it with his left foot. Maybe a couple of years ago he might have shifted it on to his right foot and not backed himself with his left.

“But he has worked so hard on his finishing – to bend that in with his left foot was great and Brooksy's assist was nice as well.

“I thought we played really well on the transition when we won the ball back. We countered well, put balls in behind and asked questions of them. We should have got more out of the game and I was disappointed.”

Between them, the pacy and powerful quartet have scored 19 goals and provided 15 assists for Cherries this season.

“I look at our front four and they are all representing their counties and doing well,” added Francis.

“I think they can be really good for us as well and that is the key thing. They are progressing because they are at Bournemouth under the manager, playing week in, week out and enjoying their football.

“This is the perfect place for them. When we set up to attack teams at home and press them high, we look a real threat.”

Cherries’ loss to the Gunners meant they slipped out of the bottom six after 13 games of the campaign. Howe's men are eighth ahead of Saturday’s daunting trip to defending champions Manchester City.

But defender Francis insisted there would be no need for the Dorset club to hit the panic button.

“We have to stay positive,” said the 33-year-old. “The manager alluded to it after the game – the important thing is not to panic and take confidence from the performances.”