CHRIS Mepham insists Cherries cannot use injuries as an excuse when they take on Brighton tomorrow afternoon (3pm).

Left-backs Charlie Daniels and Diego Rico both joined the list of absentees with Lewis Cook and Simon Francis ruled out for the rest of the campaign, while Steve Cook and Andrew Surman have also been injured since February and March, respectively.

This leaves Eddie Howe short of options for the Premier League run-in, but Mepham says the squad is strong enough to cope.

Mepham told the Daily Echo: “It’s never ideal but I’m sure a lot of teams have the same sort of injury problems. Very rarely do you have a team where everyone is fully fit. We can’t use that as an excuse.

“We just need to carry on fighting and try to get as many points as possible.”

Brighton are currently 16th in the table, five points clear of the relegation zone and Mepham says facing sides battling to avoid the drop at this time of the season can be just as difficult as taking on some of the more established names in the league.

Mepham said: “We’re fully aware that there’s going to be no easy game.

“The teams down the bottom are all scrapping for their lives. Sometimes those games can be just as hard as against teams in the top 10.”