EDDIE Howe described as a “concern” the injury sustained by Adam Smith, as Cherries could lose another key player ahead of the jam-packed festive schedule.

Full-back Smith was seen walking out of Selhurst Park wearing a protective medical boot, with the boss indicating he may have picked up an ankle concern.

Asked for an update on the defender after the final whistle, Howe said: “I don’t know, I haven’t seen him.

“It’s a concern he’s limping off, obviously with Steve Cook’s injury he suffered against Tottenham it’s not great news.

“It’s difficult. I don’t want to sit here and use it as an excuse but it is the worst time to get injuries because you have so many games.

“Then you are stretched and we don’t want to get to that point again. It was good to have players back from suspension but to see Adam limp off wasn’t good.”

Cherries lost Cook to a fractured wrist ahead of the 1-0 defeat in south London, the centre-half having sustained the injury putting in a block against Tottenham on Saturday.

Quizzed on whether they missed the commanding defender’s presence against Palace, Howe replied: “I think you are always going to miss someone as vocal and experienced as Steve. He has seen it, been there and done it.

“He’s led very well in Simon’s (Francis’s) absence. He is a big voice for us but players have to step up, that’s the beauty of the game. You get an injury and then you need someone else to come in and perform.

“You need your players to be really brave and to stand up and fight for the club. Yes, Steve is a big voice but then we need other people to contribute.”

Smith was also the victim of a Mamadou Sakho challenge which earned the Palace man a red card after 19 minutes on Tuesday.

The tackle appeared to catch the Cherries man high on the knee.

Giving his opinion on the sending off, Howe said: “It looked high and dangerous but I don’t know whether he got the ball or not, I’ve got no idea.

“But it looked high and it definitely caught Adam on the knee, I think.”