NATHAN Ake insists he is happy to “play anywhere for the team” after being shifted out of his regular position in recent weeks.

Ake, who has again impressed this season at centre-back, started the past two fixtures against Brighton and Fulham at left-back due to a spate of defensive injuries ripping through the Cherries squad.

Diego Rico (ankle) and Charlie Daniels (kneecap) both suffered season-ending injuries within days of each other earlier this month, while Simon Francis (knee) is already recovering from a long-term absence.

The situation took a turn for the worse ahead of the clash with Fulham at Vitality Stadium with Nathaniel Clyne (hamstring) not making the squad while Adam Smith pulled out during the warm-up due to a knee problem.

Junior Stanislas was drafted in to plug the gap, but was forced off just 23 minutes in against the Cottagers due to a knee issue of his own. Jack Simpson came on in his place and lined up at centre-back alongside Chris Mepham with Ake and Steve Cook, Cherries’ two most experienced central defenders, occupying full-back slots.

Eddie Howe quickly changed tactic again, shifting Mepham out wide and bringing Cook back into the heart of the defence.

Cherries slipped to a 1-0 defeat as Aleksandar Mitrovic tucked home a penalty in the second half after a foul by Simpson.

Discussing his switch to left-back in recent weeks, Ake, who has played in every Premier League match this season, told the Daily Echo: “I last did it (at club level) at Watford (in 2015-16), which was quite a long time ago.

“It’s always hard to change positions, but I think it’s also good for me to learn to be able to switch and just try to help the team in different aspects as well.

“This season I’ve focused on being a central defender but when the manager asks you to play different positions because there’s injuries, you do it one hundred per cent.

“I told him as well I will play anywhere for the team. I think that’s normal as a player, so I will try and give everything in a different position, it doesn’t matter where.

“We play for the manager. I think if he asks you to play somewhere else, you play there with no questions asked.

“He knows I will do the job. Maybe Saturday wasn’t great, but I always give everything.”

Ake could be deployed at full-back again when Cherries make the short trip to Southampton on Saturday (3pm).

Howe’s men slipped to 14th in the Premier League table but are currently on course to finish above their south coast rivals for a second consecutive season.

And Ake says St Mary’s is the ideal venue for Cherries to get back on track, despite never managing a victory there in five previous attempts.

“I think it’s the perfect game to turn it around,” said Ake. “We’ve done it before, turned things around when we had a tough result.

“Southampton, a derby, so I’m sure the fans want us to win over there or at least give them a good fight. One hundred per cent we need to do that.”