SKIPPER Simon Francis revealed he had been inspired by fellow injury victim Lewis Cook and said: “He is motivating me to get to his level.”

The pair are on the comeback trail after both rupturing the anterior cruciate ligaments in their right knees during December.

Cook’s injury was sustained during a 2-1 home win over Huddersfield, while Francis suffered the same fate at Wembley in a 5-0 reverse against Tottenham.

Having both undergone successful operations with 22-year-old Cook a few weeks ahead in his rehab, Francis admitted it had been a useful to compare progress.

The club captain told the Daily Echo: “I feel for Lewis, he’s so young and he shouldn’t have to go through that at the start of his career.

“I don’t want to see him missing half the season when he has so much potential and is going to be a massive player for Bournemouth.

“Certainly, with him being ahead of me, he is motivating me to get to his level. I’d like to think I’m helping him as well – pushing him on every time I see him in the gym.

“We speak regularly and are on text comparing with each other, you want to know how each other are doing.

“While he had a different operation to me – he had a hamstring graft and I had a quad graft – there are different exercises he’s doing, things he’s stronger at and I’m stronger at.

“It may be a different rehab when we get closer to playing but, at the moment, we are spurring each other on.

“It’s incredible how a little bit more bend in the knee or adding weight onto some of the single-leg strength exercises you’re doing is a massive boost.

“I know Lewis has been doing the same recently and he is in a similar boat.”

Francis, who on Saturday celebrated his 34th birthday, revealed he and Cook had attempted to kit up one of the boxes at Vitality Stadium to watch their team-mates on matchdays.

Boss Eddie Howe last month said he had missed having the duo on the training field because they were “such good characters”.

The full-back insisted he was doing all he could to boost his side, despite being ruled out.

“The manager has given me his perspective on things and has been positive, as he always is,” said the former Charlton and Southend ace. “He just wants me to be myself in and around the lads to do what I can as captain off the field now – which is important.

“We have had some great chats and he is always there.

“I have learned quite a lot about my own body and my own knee. I will just take every day as it comes and not rush anything.”