EDDIE Howe insists he has enough defensive cover in his current squad to cope with the loss of Chris Mepham earlier this month.

The Wales international is unlikely to return until March having undergone surgery to repair knee ligament damage, suffered in the FA Cup win over Luton.

But with Steve Cook, Nathan Ake, Simon Francis and Jack Simpson all available, as well as the returning versatile Lloyd Kelly, Howe believes there is no desperation to bring in extra cover.

Asked if Mepham's injury has made him more keen to recruit a centre-back this month, Howe told the Daily Echo: "I think we’ve got enough. With Lloyd coming back and with various other players who can play a couple of different positions, I think we have enough.

"But of course in all positions we’re looking at the moment, because we’re light."

Mepham has joined Joshua King, David Brooks, Arnaut Danjuma, Charlie Daniels, Jack Stacey and Junior Stanislas on the club’s lengthy injury list.

Howe said: "We’d love to get a few more players back from injury, I’ve always said I think that’s the priority, getting them back fit and in a good place.

"Because the transfer window is, as we’re finding, very, very difficult to find players.

"It’s not just finding players that can come in and play the level, they’ve got to excel, they’ve got to be better than the good players we’ve got already and I think that’s incredibly difficult."