CHERRIES are facing a severe shortage of options on the left flank after the Football League blocked a bid to extend Anthony Edgar’s loan deal.

The young winger has returned to parent club West Ham United, with Cherries’ attempts to retain his services proving unsuccessful.

Manager Eddie Howe is now facing a selection dilemma ahead of Rochdale’s visit to Dean Court this weekend, with his alternatives for the left midfield berth few and far between.

“Anthony has gone back and the Football League have not allowed us to extend the loan at this moment in time,” said Howe.

“We’re disappointed to lose him because it leaves us very short of options on the left-hand side of midfield.”

Popular star Mark Molesley will probably get the nod, although he is not fully fit and is playing through the pain of a foot injury, which will eventually require surgery.

Veteran playmaker Sammy Igoe would be another possibility, but he is yet to overcome a persistent knee injury.

All of which leaves Howe with a tough decision to make as he casts an eye over his depleted resources.

He told the Echo: “Mark Molesley has played the past two games on the left but, as everyone knows, Mark is playing through the pain barrier and making himself available to us even though he needs an operation.

“At this moment in time, we’re just having to see how long Mark can keep himself going before eventually needing to go under the knife.

“He’s done ever so well to put himself up for selection and to battle through because, if he was not available to me, we wouldn’t have a replacement for him and we’d have to play someone out of position.

“Sammy’s not ready yet – he’s close but just can’t seem to get 100 per cent right. He’s still feeling sharp pains in his knee and until they abate he won’t be available for selection.

“You can either go one of two ways. You can put someone there who’s not a left midfielder.

“Brett (Pitman) can do it – he’s one option. Anton (Robinson) has played in various positions for us and he’s very versatile.

“Or you can look to change formation and go without a left midfielder, but that’s not really a road I want to go down.”

Edgar, cousin of England and Tottenham Hotspur star Jermain Defoe, saw his loan deal expire today after four first-team appearances.

• A youthful Cherries reserve side crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Swansea City in the Football Combination yesterday.

Cherries: Thomas, Annetts, Holmes, Strugnell, Oldring, Vokes, Green, Hill (Ward, 42), Kemble (Strong, 54), Ings (Steer, 75), Parsons. Unused subs: Murphy, Hibberd.ó