DANNY Hollands is hoping to hand injury-ravaged Cherries a much-needed fitness boost after setting his sights on a rapid recovery.

The influential midfielder saw his decent run of form halted by a knee ligament problem, which kept him out of the League Two matches against Barnet and Shrewsbury last week.

His loss was compounded when Jason Pearce (bruised foot) and Liam Feeney (hamstring) also sustained injuries that left boss Eddie Howe with just 12 available professionals for the defeat against the Shrews.

But Howe’s depleted promotion-chasers could be bolstered by the timely return of Hollands, who is bidding to be back in action this weekend after training yesterday.

He told the Echo: “Hopefully I should be okay to be involved on Saturday if I get a week’s training under my belt. Touch wood, there will be no reaction and I can be involved.

“I’m hoping Jason and Liam will be back for Saturday as well because they are big players for us.

“We’re short on numbers as it is so we need all hands to the pump as much as we can.”

Such was the severity of their numbers crisis at the Prostar Stadium, Cherries gave a last-minute SOS call to 16-year-old schoolboy Jayden Stockley. The teenage striker eventually arrived around 25 minutes late for kick-off.

“Sometimes when we go out to training we have only got eight or nine bodies and it is weird,” admitted Hollands. “But it is something we have got used to.

“Throughout the season, I don’t think we’ve had a full squad. It’s been a bad year in terms of that but we’ve just got to dig in and, hopefully, we can try to stay where we are and achieve something.

“We’ve worked hard as a squad, we have stuck together and, hopefully, we can have a strong end to the season and achieve something.”

Howe is this week expected to monitor the fitness of his other injured stars, with Sammy Igoe, Joe Partington, Pearce and Feeney among those sidelined.

Following the loss at Shrewsbury, the Cherries boss revealed that a few of his players were close to returning and that he hoped to avoid making a plea to the Football League for an emergency loanee.

Howe reported that he approached the league for a relaxation of Cherries’ transfer embargo on Saturday morning, but the requirement of medical evidence on his injured players ruled out the possibility of reinforcing his wafer-thin squad. The situation led a frustrated Howe to label the circumstances “ridiculous”.

He said: “It was the morning of the game and we did not have time to get doctors’ reports – it was just not feasible, especially when we were away from home.

“In some senses, we half thought about not phoning the league because we knew what the response would be.”