BOSS Scott Parker said Cherries avoiding being dragged through the rigour of a Championship play-off campaign “helps a lot” when preparing for next season in the Premier League.

The Dorset club sealed their return to the top flight with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday – securing them second spot and automatic promotion.

That meant Cherries’ season will come to an end when they host Millwall (12.30pm) in their season finale at Vitality Stadium tomorrow.

Asked about having the extra three weeks off, with the play-off final set for May 29, Parker said: “It definitely helps – it helps a lot really.

“It gives us a little bit of extra time – an extra three weeks to prepare and to look at what we are going to do when preparing and organising for the summer.

“I am glad it’s over. Some people say the best way to go up is via the play-offs in a big game at Wembley. It definitely isn’t.

“You need to try to get to when we got it done. I am glad we did that.”

Cherries are set to face a Millwall side who must win to have any chance of reaching the play-offs themselves.

But despite his side already achieving their season objective, the Cherries head coach insisted he would not be taking the Lions lightly.

“It’s a competitive game and for sure, it would only be right that we approach this game with the right frame of mind – and go into the game wanting to win,” Parker added.

“We’ve lost the least amount of games in this division to date – we want to keep that there. We’ve got the most clean sheets.

“There’s loads of things that we sit and we want to aim for and we want to keep continuing.

“We are up against a very competitive side in Millwall. Gary (Rowett) has done a very good job at Millwall, the way the table is at this moment in time, who knows what could happen on the last day?

“We are going to have to be right at it. Even with midweek and our celebrations. We are professional football players and when you cross the line, there is a lot at stake.

“We are going into this game wanting to try to win it, like we have done for most for the season.”

Quizzed on whether he would shuffle the pack in his squad for the final game of the season, the former England international said: “Maybe, but over the course of it I will decide that. There is options there for us to do that if I want to.”