EDDIE Howe admitted the return of “energiser” Adam Smith had been a big boost to the Cherries squad.

Defender Smith limped off during the victory at Huddersfield on March 9 and was absent for a month due to a hamstring injury.

He came back into to the side for the home defeat against Burnley and also completed the full 90 minutes of Saturday’s dominant win at Brighton.

And Howe said his presence had been felt since his return to full fitness.

The Cherries boss told the Daily Echo: “He’s such a positive guy.

“When he has been injured you’ve noticed it, you’ve missed him. He’s got the ability to light the room up with his laughter, with different things that he does.

“It’s the same as a couple of others. When they’re not there you feel it in the dressing room.

“It’s a quieter place and, as we go through time, it’s really important that your energisers are around the group and he’s certainly one of them.”

Howe added: “He is an energiser and on the pitch he shows that winning mentality. He wants to win everything and he’s the same in training.

“He is one that will never drop his standards, will never come in and not be motivated to train well and show his absolute best.

“Adam is a really special person and a very good player.”

Smith has grown into an influential member of the Cherries side since his permanent arrival from Tottenham Hotspur.

Now 27, the full-back has been at the club for five years, with his versatility shown by the fact that half of his 24 appearances this season have been started from left-back as opposed to his preferred spot on the right.

And given long-term injuries this season to full-backs Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels, Howe said Smith’s ability to fill in across the back four had helped the squad.

“He’s another player that had an injury that had to be accelerated back due to our numbers,” said Howe.

“He played both full-back positions (against Burnley). That’s his adaptability and versatility coming to the fore.

“He’s an outstanding player and I hope we can keep him fit between now and the end of the season.”

Howe added: “When I first saw Adam playing for Tottenham he was playing right-back and then I saw him playing for Torquay on loan, playing left-back here and he ripped us to bits from the left-back position, running inside on to his right foot.

“He showed real technical quality that day which for me showed that he could play at a much higher level.

“So it’s not something new to him. I think he’s done it his whole career.

“He would probably say to me that ‘I want to play right-back’, but he’s a team player and knows that sometimes he has to do a job in a different position.”