DEFENDER James Hill admits he did not think he would have the chance to potentially make his Premier League debut so soon, adding: "I’ve just got to adapt as quick as I can."

Hill arrived at Cherries in early January from Fleetwood Town, for a fee of around £1million.

He spent most of his early months at Cherries improving behind the scenes during training and playing matches for the development squad, featuring just twice so far in competitive first-team fixtures.

His only league minutes outside of the third tier came as a late substitute in a 1-0 win at Barnsley on January 29, before then starting against non-league Boreham Wood in the FA Cup a week later.

However, the 20-year-old suddenly finds himself in a position where he could be lining up against the likes of multi-million pound stars Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey as part of Cherries' defence this weekend.

Scott Parker's side make their Premier League return on Saturday, welcoming Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa to Vitality Stadium.

Following the summer departures of Gary Cahill, Nat Phillips and Zeno Ibsen Rossi, Hill is now one of just three senior centre-backs in the squad, alongside Chris Mepham and Lloyd Kelly.

All three started last weekend's final pre-season friendly against Real Sociedad, with Parker looking to bolster his back-line with a new formation in the top-flight.

Cherries' boss is keen for new signings in that position, but with the days running out, the chances of Hill getting the nod for the season opener are ever increasing, with midfielder Jefferson Lerma the only other player to start at centre-back during pre-season, outside of the aforementioned trio.

Asked how big of an opportunity he sees this time before any further signings arrive in his position, Hill told the Daily Echo: "I think it’s important for myself that I just keep going and keep working hard.

"I think obviously it’s going to be difficult, because I’ve come from League One and I’m going straight into the Premier League.

"But it can’t be an excuse. I’ve just got to adapt as quick as I can as a football player and just keep staying positive and go into that game.

"Obviously it’s a great opportunity to get some minutes, so I think I’ve just got to stay positive and not worry what’s behind me."

Asked if he thought the chance for a Premier League debut could come so soon given his status within the squad a few months ago, Hill admitted: "If I’m honest, I didn’t really think that was going to be possible.

"But I think that’s football for you, isn’t it? You can never get too high and never get too low.

"The opportunity might come when you’re least expecting it. I think that’s why we’ve always got to be ready for when that opportunity comes."

Cherries head into Saturday's Premier League opener on the back of three pre-season defeats on the spin, against Braga, Bristol City and Sociedad.

Discussing the poor run of results, Hill said: "There’s no major concerns.

"Obviously if we don’t make mistakes, we can’t learn, can we? So I think it’s a good learning point.

"Obviously there’s things that we definitely need to improve on, but I think that’s only positive for us going forward, because we know what we need to knuckle down on and it just makes us even more hungry going into that first league game."