DANNY Hollands is determined to retain his midfield berth and admits there is no room for a dip in form as the battle for Cherries starting spots continues.

The central midfielder has made an impressive return to Eddie Howe’s XI in recent weeks – finding the net twice in five starts.

Having been restricted to a frustrating watching brief during Cherries’ promising opening to the season, Hollands waited patiently for his opportunity.

And he has set about seizing his chance, capping a good display at Brentford by heading Cherries into the lead.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup first round tie against Tranmere at Dean Court (3pm), Hollands told the Echo: “When you’re in the team, you have to make sure that you perform and keep your place.

“There are a number of players who aren’t in the starting XI that can come in and do a great job. It’s nice to be in there but I have to try to keep my shirt now.

“If you have a couple of games where you are not at it, the manager is within his rights to change it because there are lads champing at the bit to get in the starting XI, like I was.

“I’m thankful to be in the team now and I’ve got to try to work hard and try to keep my place and help the team do well.”

Hollands is the second highest scorer in the Howe era and, having got on the scoresheet on Tuesday, he is keen to rise up this season’s goal charts.

“It takes three or four games to get your fitness back up,” he said. “You can be fit from training, but there’s nothing like playing games. You need games to get your match fitness.

“I feel that I’m just about there and, hopefully, I can chip in with a few more goals for the team and try to perform well.

“Last year, maybe, we depended on Bretty a bit too much but this season there are a few lads. I think Josh and Marc Pugh have got five and six.

“I want to try to be up there with the top-scorers but as long as everyone in the team chips in with goals it’s good for everyone – because then you are not relying on one person to bail you out if you are losing.”

Cherries will be hoping to bounce back after losing for the first time since January on home soil when Colchester United emerged as 2-1 victors last weekend.

Their cause may be helped by the return of leading marksman Marc Pugh, who is aiming to shrug off the ankle knock that kept him out of the Brentford clash.

Boss Howe is hoping Ryan Garry (knee) will be ready to return in defence, but confirmed that Shaun Cooper (calf) was likely to remain on the sidelines with Michael Symes (shoulder).

Cherries: (from) Jalal, Smith, Bartley, Pearce, Wiggins, Bradbury, Robinson, Hollands, Arter, Feeney, McQuoid, Fletcher, Cummings, Stockley, Purches, Taylor, Pugh, Garry, Stewart.

Tranmere: (from) Gulacsi, Cathalina, Goodison, Broomes, Cresswell, Labadie, Blanchard, Welsh, Thomas-Moore, Showunmi, Jennings, Bakayogo, Wood, Darville, Akins, Mendy, Morrow, Collister.