BOSS Jonathan Woodgate is confident Cameron Carter-Vickers can fill the leadership void left at centre-back, should captain Steve Cook fail to recover in time for tomorrow's crunch clash at Brentford.

And he also believes the Tottenham loanee is ready to make the step up into the Premier League.

Cook is rated as 50-50 to feature at Brentford Community Stadium in the Championship play-off semi-final second leg (12.30pm).

The club's captain was forced off during Monday's 1-0 first-leg victory with a knee injury, to be replaced by Chris Mepham.

He, alongside Carter-Vickers, helped keep the Bees out to give Cherries a slender advantage.

USA international Carter-Vickers, who is around two months younger than Mepham, has played every minute for Cherries since Woodgate took charge of the team in February.

His game time had been limited prior to that, following his season-long loan move from Tottenham Hotspur.

Discussing the 23-year-old's performance after Cook had been withdrawn just before half-time on Monday, Woodgate told the Daily Echo: "It didn’t affect him. He leads well, Cam. Alright, he’s not the loudest, but he leads well by how he defends and when Meps came on, he was equally as good up against a top striker in (Ivan) Toney.

"But Cam, since I’ve been here, he does what it says on the tin. He’s mister consistent. I know exactly what I’m going to get from him week in, week out.

"He loves defending. He loves keeping clean sheets, he’s like that.

"He defends first and foremost and that’s what I want in my team. I want defenders to defend and attackers to attack, Cam does that."

Carter-Vickers is coming towards the end of a sixth loan spell away from Spurs, all to different Championship clubs, making well over 100 appearances in the process.

The centre-back still has a year left on his contract at the north London club, but Woodgate believes now is the time for him to establish himself elsewhere.

"He’s got a lot of experience," said the Cherries boss.

"In my view, he needs to find a home. He needs to find a home and really cement a home and have that place where he’s going to play week in, week out.

"I think if I’m speaking for Cam, he’ll want that. He’ll want to try and find a home.

"I can’t see him wanting to be loaned out again and I’m sure he’d want to find a home and somewhere to settle. But he’s a really top player."

Quizzed on if he thinks the centre-back could make the step up into the Premier League, Woodgate added: "I don’t see no reason why not. I think at every level he’s played, he’s improved. He’s getting better.

"Okay, it’s a big jump to the Premier League, but who knows? He’s good enough, he’s got the right mentality, he wants to improve, he’s quick, he’s strong, he reads the game well.

"He keeps his passing simple, which he’s good at. He makes good decisions."

He continued: "What you want out of your defenders is consistency and with Cam, as soon as I got in I knew I’d get that consistency in how he wants to defend. He’s a defender first and foremost.

"When I watched games from him from last season, I saw how good he was in every game and how consistent. I’m getting seven out of 10 every week, he’s never dipping to a four, he’s always a seven. The more players you can have who are consistent and giving you sevens every single week, they’re perfect for the team and Cam is that.

"I know what I’m going to get from him, he’s easy maintenance.

"I rate him very highly to be honest, because I know exactly what I’m going to get from him week in, week out.

"I really like Cam. I really like his personality. Wants to learn, asks questions, wants to get better, I enjoy working with Cam."

Discussing his first impressions of the defender, Woodgate added: "As soon as I walked in the building, as soon as I was put in temporary charge, he was walking down the stairs as I was passing him. I said ‘you’re playing on Saturday, you’re in’.

"He hasn’t looked back."

Quizzed on if Carter-Vickers could make a permanent move to Cherries after his loan spell expires this month, Woodgate said: "I haven’t got a clue about next season."