BOSS Eddie Howe admitted losing full-back Adam Smith through illness had been “difficult” and added: “The strength of our squad is severely tested at the moment.”

Defender Smith was ruled out on the morning of today’s 3-2 defeat at former club Tottenham with a sickness bug.

Cherries were also without Philip Billing and Simon Francis through suspension, as well as injury-stricken David Brooks, Junior Stanislas, Lloyd Kelly, Charlie Daniels, Andrew Surman and Joshua King.

Giving an update on Smith, Howe told the Daily Echo: “He was taken ill this morning.

“With the squad already stretched and the number of injuries we already have, to lose him, and the suspensions to Simon and Phil, it was difficult.

“The strength of our squad is severely tested at the moment, probably at the worst possible time because we’ve got load of games to come in a short period.

“But it is what it is, we can’t do anything about it. Hopefully Adam’s won’t be too serious or too long.

“It was sickness related. I’ve got no idea how long those things take but we will wait and see how he is.”

Howe will hope to have the defender available for Tuesday’s trip to Crystal Palace (7.30pm).