FRUSTRATED Michael Symes admits he will have to prove himself to boss Eddie Howe all over again.

The influential striker, signed over the summer from Accrington Stanley, has seen his promising start to life at Dean Court derailed by a shoulder injury.

The 26-year-old frontman turned in impressive displays against Charlton and Peterborough before notching his maiden Cherries goal from the penalty spot during the 3-0 away win at Tranmere.

The likeable Liverpudlian, however, has been forced to adopt a watching brief as Howe’s men stormed to third in League One following victory over Dagenham & Redbridge and a hard-earned draw at Huddersfield.

And with lone striker Josh McQuoid stealing the limelight with five goals in four games, Symes knows he could have a real challenge on his hands to regain a starting berth.

Symes, who plundered 19 goals for Stanley in League Two last term, told the Echo: “Last season I played every game and had no injuries at all so this has been a bit of a headache. I need games and need to be playing all the time because that brings the best out of me – it always has.

“I just want to get the shoulder sorted.

“Josh is flying and banging them in as the only striker, but it will be up to the manager to decide what he wants to do when I’m back.

“I’ll work as hard as I can and I’ll be looking to play a couple of reserve games and, hopefully, bang in a couple of goals there. Then it will be up to the manager whether he wants to stick with Josh and the one man up front or put me straight back in.”

Following a visit to a specialist on Saturday, Symes could be back in contention for the trips to Southampton and Brighton at the beginning of next month, with the midweek clash at Exeter City on September 28 also a possibility.

Symes added: “The specialist thinks I’m two to three weeks away.

“I’ve been doing a lot of running and keeping my fitness levels up. I’ll probably be fitter when I come back now than I was when I was playing because I missed a bit of pre-season, so I’m still catching up on that a little.

“The lads have been brilliant, but it’s been frustrating having to sit and watch. At least the lads have been winning – it would have been even worse if they had been getting beaten.

“I was just starting to find my feet and felt like my fitness was coming before I got injured. “But hopefully it will be a maximum of three weeks and then I can work at getting back in the side.”