CHRIS Mepham believes injuries proved costly in Cherries’ disappointing defeat against Fulham.

Eddie Howe initially named an unchanged XI from the thumping 5-0 win at Brighton seven days earlier, only for Adam Smith to pull out injured in the warm-up.

Junior Stanislas was drafted in from the bench to start at right-back, but he was then forced off after just 23 minutes with a knee problem.

With fellow defenders Simon Francis, Nathaniel Clyne, Diego Rico and Charlie Daniels already on the sidelines, that meant the introduction of Jack Simpson with Mepham, Steve Cook and Ryan Fraser all taking turns on the right of the defence during the 90 minutes in the 1-0 reverse.

Centre-back Mepham told the Daily Echo: “We don’t want to make excuses but I think the injuries changed the game.

“We started the game really well and looked threatening every time we went forward and then Junior came off injured, which stopped the rhythm.

“We never seemed to get back into the full flow of things.”

He added: “At Brighton we seemed to take every chance we had and were very unselfish. Against Fulham we lacked that killer instinct.

“The injuries killed the game.”