STEVE Cook will continue in his role of club captain at Cherries this season, boss Scott Parker revealed.

Parker had been reluctant to name his skipper for the 2021-22 campaign, insisting he would make a decision after the transfer window had closed.

And following the passing of last week's deadline day, Parker has now decided to stick with Cook as his first skipper since taking over as boss in the summer.

Cook has been at Cherries for almost a decade, initially arriving on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion in October 2011.

Having quickly made his move permanent, the centre-back became a stalwart in the squad and has now racked up 385 Cherries appearances, scoring 21 goals along the way.

In that time, Cook played a key role in promotions from both League One and the Championship, as well as five seasons in the top flight.

Having regularly stood-in as skipper on a matchday, the Hastings-born ace was officially handed the armband following former captain Simon Francis's departure from Cherries in August 2020.

A knee injury kept Cook out of pre-season at Cherries following Parker's arrival and with just a year remaining on his contract, speculation was rife regarding his future over the summer.

Now fit again, Cook has featured just once this season - the 6-0 Carabao Cup thrashing at Norwich City.

He failed to make the matchday squad for the following league match, with Chris Mepham and Lloyd Kelly the preferred centre-back duo against Hull City, as new signing Gary Cahill and youngster Zeno Ibsen Rossi provided cover on the bench.

Kelly has taken the armband on the pitch in Cook's absence from Championship matches so far this season, and Parker confirmed the captaincy situation has now been resolved.

"The decision is that Steve Cook is the club captain and Lloyd Kelly will be captain if Steve is not in and around it," Parker confirmed to the Daily Echo.

"That stays as it is.

"He (Cook) has been a player here for some time and he’s done extremely well and in terms of his general demeanour, I see no reason why not to keep that as it is.

"His respect amongst his peers and his teammates and obviously on the flip side of that, Lloyd has done remarkably well in me giving him that ownership of captaincy and taken that on board, so that’s how it will stay."

Cook, 30, looks set for a battle to win back his spot in the Cherries side.

He has always overcome such challenges before during his career on the south coast to re-establish himself in the heart of the defence.

And despite his lack of match action so far, the increased competition at centre-back and speculation surrounding his future over the summer, Parker insists Cook has a big part to play this campaign.

Discussing his captain's mindset since the transfer window shut, Parker said: "He’s been as good as gold. He’s been fine.

"There may have been an opportunity to have gone (elsewhere), that’s not been the case and Steve’s going to be an integral and a vital part to what we do.

"So that’s down to Steve now to be the model professional, to work tirelessly hard, to force his way in and around things here.

"At this present moment in time, I see no different to why that would change."