CHERRIES boss Jonathan Woodgate expressed his frustration at Cherries' "absolutely ridiculous" upcoming Championship schedule.

Clubs in the second tier are currently enjoying a break without fixtures due to the international matches.

Cherries have six players away representing their country in Shane Long, Mark Travers, Chris Mepham, Lloyd Kelly, Nathan Moriah-Welsh and Gavin Kilkenny.

Prior to the international break, Woodgate's men lost 3-0 to Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday, a game in which they were missing seven first-team players due to injury and unavailability.

They are set for a slightly shorter window without games than top-flight clubs, hosting Middlesbrough on Good Friday, April 2, before a trip to Blackburn Rovers on Easter Monday.

The likes of Travers, Long and Mepham could be in international action just three days before the crunch clash with Boro, while Kelly has an England under-21s fixture on March 31.

And Woodgate has been left less than impressed by the way the fixtures have fallen.

Asked if he will give his players some time off during this international break, Woodgate told the Daily Echo: "They’ve played a lot of games so there will be a bit of rest and a bit of work. You’ve got to treat it like that.

"Our upcoming game after that is on a Friday, which I can’t understand how the league have done it really when we’ve got players away on international duty, playing on a Wednesday night and having to go again on a Friday.

"It’s absolutely ridiculous. I can’t get my head around it.

"We’ll have Shane Long away, Lloyd Kelly away. It’s just crazy that these players might have to play on a Wednesday and then play on a Friday and then play on a Monday.

"It’s just stupidity really, whoever makes decisions like that?"

Among those missing for the cup clash with Saints were injured quintet Kelly, Adam Smith, Junior Stanislas, Lewis Cook and David Brooks. Aside from Cook, who is set to miss the remainder of the season following knee surgery, the rest are believed to be not too far away from returning to fitness. Meanwhile, Long and Jefferson Lerma should be available to face Middlesbrough having sat out the FA Cup quarter-final due to being cup-tied and suspended respectively.

"We have to rest at first, move on and then plan towards Middlesbrough," Woodgate told afcbTV.

"A lot of players have played a lot of games, so we'll have to look at everyone individually and see how we go."

Asked if he thinks he could have some players back in time for the next game, the head coach added: "Yeah, I'd like to think so.

"Hopefully at least five back. Lerma will be back, so that will be a big bonus."

After the game at Blackburn on April 5, Cherries are then due to face Coventry, Huddersfield, Norwich, Millwall and Brentford before the end of the month.