SCOTT Parker says he feels “grateful” to have Dominic Solanke in his squad, as the striker gears up for his 100th game as a Cherries player.

Solanke, who turned 24 on Tuesday, has been in prolific form this campaign, netting six goals in eight appearances.

It takes his overall tally for the club to 25 from 99 appearances following his £17.5million switch from Liverpool in January 2019.

His 100th game is set to come against Cardiff City in Wales on Saturday (3pm).

Of his 25 goals, only five came in his first 50 appearances for the club, with a sharp increase since dropping into the Championship.

Only Reading midfielder John Swift and Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic have netted more than Solanke in the second tier so far this season.

Asked if he sees a better striker in the Championship than Solanke at the moment, Cherries boss Parker told the Daily Echo: “No, I don’t think so.

“I think he’s a top forward, very pleased to have him and grateful he’s in our team really.

“I think he’s a top forward in this division and has got massive attributes. Scored goals last year and he’s on the upward curve really.

“I think he’s a modern-day centre-forward, which is very good.”

Solanke struggled for goals as a Premier League player.

Despite being prolific at youth level for both club and country, Solanke came through the ranks at Chelsea but never played in the top flight, before moving to Liverpool. The Reading-born frontman played 21 Premier League matches for the Reds, mainly as a substitute, but only scored once.

A big-money switch to Cherries followed, but again he struggled to produce in front of goal, scoring just three times in 32 outings.

While it would not have been his plan to go from Liverpool to the Championship in the space of 18 months, Solanke appears to be relishing life in the second tier.

And Parker feels his time spent at this level can stand him in good stead should he get his chance at the top again in future.

“I think sometimes this division, you’ve seen it in the past with players, in terms of a real grounding, in terms of a real experience, in terms of learning your trade a little bit, I look back at (Jack) Grealish at Villa, went down, stayed in this division for a couple of years, scored a lot of goals, got them back up,” said Parker.

“(Emi) Buendia at Norwich, Ollie Watkins, (Said) Benrahma at Brentford, there’s a list of players that have spent a good two or three years and applied themselves and learnt a lot before then moving on and staying on and I think that’s the key thing.

“Their experiences in the Championship, all those players I’ve mentioned have then been players that have really become very good Premier League players. I think probably it was the grounding and the experience in this division which has given them that really.”

Asked if he feels Solanke is showing he has what it takes to get back to a place which saw him playing at two of England’s biggest clubs, as well as becoming a senior England international, Parker added: “Yeah I think so. I think he definitely can.

“He’s gaining experience. The experiences he’s getting are only going to improve him.

“If he’s clever enough to work out where he needs to improve and adjust from that and definitely Dom is that guy. I still think there’s loads to come from Dom.

“I still think there’s loads of areas of his game he needs to work on and tidy up.

“But what he has got, he’s got a work ethic first and foremost. He’s someone that physically is very, very good and is not shy of using that.

“At that point you’ve always got a great, sound base. And then on the flip side he knows where the goal is. So I suspect and hope he can get there with us really.”