DANNY Hollands admits he is champing at the bit for a return to centre stage – but also magnanimously accepts his fall from leading man to support act.

The midfielder, a pivotal figure in Cherries’ recent revival, has played a bit part as Eddie Howe’s men have made an encouraging start in League One.

Hollands is still waiting patiently for his first league start this season – having missed just eight of Cherries’ previous 69 games under Howe’s leadership.

The 24-year-old has become one of the casualties of a stronger squad and also the impressive form of midfield pair Anton Robinson and Marvin Bartley.

In keeping with previous campaigns, Hollands’s claims were also hindered during pre-season when he was struck down by a double hernia, which required surgery.

“It is frustrating because everybody wants to be in the team,” said Hollands. “I played a lot in the past couple of seasons and have spent most of this one watching from the bench. It has been hard for me, but I’m not the only one.

“The lads with the shirts have done superbly. From my point of view, Marv and Anton are doing a fantastic job. Anton has also chipped in with a couple of goals and Marv covers every blade of grass, week in, week out.

“It probably helps when you’ve got people pushing you and we’ve got a strong squad. Lee Bradbury, Shaun Cooper, Steve Fletcher and Warren Cummings were also regulars last season and are in a similar position.

“It is tough but it is one of those things that you have got to deal with. As a squad, we want to look forward and progress. It is a squad game and it is inevitable that people are going to get injuries and suspensions.

“When you get your chance, you have got to be ready to take it. Everybody knows they have to perform because it could cost you if you don’t. There are people trying to win a place in the squad, not just in the team, and that has got to be a nice problem for the manager.”

Hollands, who made a rapid recovery from surgery to feature as a substitute in Cherries’ first game of the season at Charlton, has played his part from the bench to help Howe’s men climb to third place.

“When you go up, your first objective is to try to stay in the division,” said Hollands. “We have started brilliantly and have had some excellent results. We’ve been to some tough places and turned over teams and had some convincing home wins.

“It shows we are a good team and how well we have been playing. We are rightfully third in the table and could have been even higher. Our objective now is to stay in the top places and try to do something again this season.”