BOSS Eddie Howe insisted clarity over David Brooks’s ankle problem had put the playmaker in “a lot better place”.

Cherries remain cautiously optimistic the attacking midfielder will feature this season, after it was revealed last month he had undergone a second operation on the injury.

Wales international Brooks is currently in Qatar undergoing a routine check-up and his recovery process is on track since his second operation.

And manager Howe said now the issue had been identified, the 22-year-old “is a lot more comfortable”.

Asked about the Wales international, Howe told the Daily Echo: “He is like he has to be, positive.

“He now is more comfortable mentally because he knows the ankle has been sorted and he is now on the right path to come back.

“There’s nothing more frustrating when you’re a professional athlete and you know something is not quite right and it’s not been found. He was in that situation for a few weeks.

“But now he has got it sorted, had the other operation, I think he’s a lot more comfortable now.”

Brooks burst on to the scene in the top flight last campaign following a £10million move from Sheffield United.

The Warrington-born star scored seven times and recorded five assists in 30 Premier League games.

Asked how mentally tough the injury had been for Brooks to deal with, Howe said: “It’s more not knowing. The feeling of ‘I know something’s not feeling quite right but we can’t find out what it is’. That’s the worst feeling, the feeling of the unknown.

“Once you have that clarity and go ‘right, this is the problem, we are now going to fix it’, then I think mentally you are in a lot better place.”

Brooks will hope to be back this campaign to boost Cherries’ Premier League survival hopes.

The Dorset club are currently in the bottom three – sitting 18th with 20 points from their opening 21 fixtures.

But the manager insisted he would not be rushing his playmaker back until he was fully ready to compete.

Howe said: “Of course, when he comes back, he’s got to be able to play to his full potential.

“Otherwise, having a player out there - any player this could be - who is at 50 or 60 per cent, is no good at this level.

“We have to get him back, hopefully quickly, but properly – so he doesn’t re-injure himself in any way.”