CHERRIES defender Chris Mepham admitted that he is “open to all options” if gametime is not forthcoming at Vitality Stadium.

This term Mepham has been restricted to just two Premier League starts, and in total has made eight appearances this season, three of which have come off the bench.

The Welsh international started Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Queens Park Rangers, but was hooked at half-time with the team losing 2-0. Cherries went on two advance 3-2 winners at Loftus Road.

In September 2022 the Welshman signed a new contract with the club, tying him down until the end of the 2024/25 season.

Currently there have been no reports linking Mepham to specific clubs, but with Wales facing two key play-offs in March to qualify for the Euros this summer, gametime could be key for the 26-year-old’s international ambitions.

Speaking prior to the QPR game, Mepham told BBC Radio Solent: "The lads are flying, doing really well.

"Things are looking a lot healthier and suddenly you're looking at what's above you and not below.

"Individually it's tough. I have been in this position quite a few times with limited game time. Ultimately when the team is doing as well as they are there's not a lot you can do other than keep pushing in training and see where it takes you.

"Naturally you are more patient when the team is doing well.

“You appreciate a manager will not look to rotate a winning team, and why would he?

“At the same time it's important to push and ask the questions as it shows you care and as a professional athlete you train all week to play on the weekend.

“If that's not happening, questions will be asked and there are conversations to be had."

"I wouldn't say OK,” replied Mepham when asked if he was comfortable with being outside of the team.

 "You never want to really settle for being just a squad player that can come in once every now and then.

“I certainly value myself as being better than that. It wouldn't be in my character to be content with that."

Asked if he had thought about potentially leaving the club, Mepham continued: "Naturally you have to.

"I have been at the club a long time. I am probably - in football terms - coming to the peak of a career now at 26.

“The next couple of years are important for me. I'll hopefully have the Euros in the summer.

“It's important to play week-in-week-out. If you are not getting the game time you want and need to you have to be open to all options.

"It's always tough. You join the club under Eddie Howe in a stable environment.

“There's probably a big plan for me going forward.

“When a big change happens like that, a couple of managers come in, for whatever reason you don't get the nod.

“In contrast to last season I felt I played a lot of games and gave a good account of myself.

“It could be a 101 things.

“I am not angry towards anyone, I don't carry that negativity. I would like to think I am positive around the place and give encouragement to the lads. I will never not be that guy.

"I just think sometimes things don't always work out as you want and sometimes there's a better fit for you elsewhere."