MANAGER Eddie Howe insisted he would “focus on the players we have” rather than looking at the transfer window in January to ease Cherries’ mammoth injury list.

The Dorset club are currently without nine first-team players after Callum Wilson and Nathan Ake were both forced off during Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.

They joined the likes of Lloyd Kelly (thigh), Charlie Daniels (knee), Junior Stanislas (knee), Joshua King (hamstring), Adam Smith (ankle), Steve Cook (wrist) and David Brooks (ankle) who are currently unavailable for selection.

Asked whether going into the market in January could alleviate some of the injury problems, Howe replied: “I think the difficulty with January - there’s a combination of things.

“The money that players would cost, the quality of players you can attract is very difficult. I have always tended not to focus on that.

“If we can find something there, that may be a bonus, but I think we have to focus on the players we have.”

With five defeats on the spin, the Dorset club have taken 16 points from as many games this season and are just one point above the drop-zone.

Quizzed on how he would deal with the threat of relegation, the boss replied: “I think you’ve got to be realistic. I think you have to face it.

“If you don’t talk about it and hide from it, then it can loom up on you without you realising it.

“Every season we have been in a relegation battle, we just haven’t been below the line. We don’t want to get to that point again.

“But we’re in a relegation battle now. Let’s face it, let’s talk about it. I think that helps just get the mentality where it needs to be.”

The last time Cherries lost five league games in a row came in 2013 with League One defeats to Preston, Sheffield United, Coventry, Leyton Orient and Doncaster.

They followed up that sequence with eight consecutive wins.

“The run of results is one thing but the confidence within the squad is another,” said the Cherries boss.

“I think the biggest challenge we have is to rebuild the confidence in the group and the team we have - just with the number of players we have missing.

“One result can change everything, it can galvanise people. It can make people believe that we are good enough – which I believe we are.

“But we need that result quickly.

“This is a totally new set of problems that we have. I am going to be tested and I’ve got to find the answers.”