CHERRIES are looking after defender Chris Mepham in a bid to make sure he can start the new Championship campaign.

The 22-year-old, who underwent surgery on a knee problem back in July, did not feature in the Dorset club’s pre-season friendly against Benfica on Sunday.

Wales international Mepham did however make the trip to Portugal to train separately at the weekend, as Jason Tindall’s side fell to a 2-1 defeat.

He was left out of the Wales squad for this month’s Nations League international fixtures against Finland and Bulgaria.

But the Daily Echo understands former Brentford man Mepham is still in contention to start the campaign for Cherries and is not far away from a return.

The centre-back also had to undergo knee surgery back in January, having sustained an injury in a 4-0 FA Cup third round win over Luton.

He has since played just 10 minutes of competitive action, coming off the bench against Newcastle in July.

Cherries begin their Championship campaign at home to Blackburn a week on Saturday.