STAR midfielder Danny Hollands is set to hand relegation-threatened Cherries a timely boost ahead of this weekend's clash at Southend.

The former Chelsea reserves captain, who missed Tuesday's defeat against Doncaster Rovers after failing to overcome a dead leg, is "very hopeful" on his fitness prospects.

It was feared the combative midfielder, captain for Cherries' victories against Nottingham Forest and Luton Town, would be unavailable for the Roots Hall showdown after pulling out in Tuesday's warm-up.

But the 22-year-old played down talk of his potential absence, despite expecting to sit out today's training session.

He said: "I was disappointed because we had been playing well. It's a bit annoying but I didn't want to play when I wasn't 100 per cent fit.

"It feels better and hopefully I should be okay, but I've got to take it day by day."

Cherries were soundly beaten 4-1 by Steve Tilson's side last month, but Hollands is "optimistic" of avenging that result.

"We know what they play like. We weren't playing well on that particular day and we've improved and are confident we can go and beat them.

"I'm very hopeful I'll be able to play but today is a big day. I'll keep icing it and compressing it and hopefully I can have a jog on it today."

Cherries' defeat against Doncaster could have more serious ramifications than just the three points lost as Kevin Bond prepares his wounded troops for battle at Southend.

As if falling to the 2-0 defeat against Sean O'Driscoll's side was not bad enough, Cherries also had utility man Shaun Cooper sent off and picked up a number of injury worries.

And now Cherries face the prospect of travelling to Essex this weekend without a key quintet.

As well as Hollands remaining a slight doubt, Warren Cummings (leg), Brett Pitman (hamstring) and Russ Perrett (bruised hip) could struggle.

Speaking after Tuesday's match, Bond said: "We'll nurse them through to the weekend and play whatever we've got."

If Hollands does miss out, it would leave Bond without his first-choice midfielder and an ideal replacement in Cooper, who is banned following his red card on Tuesday.

Jo Tessem or youth team player Joe Partington could partner Marvin Bartley in midfield.

But with Neil Young, Darren Anderton, Ryan Garry, Neil Moss and Steven Foley already sidelined, Bond could be forced to dip into Joe Roach's youth team to fill the bench.