CALLUM Wilson is backing himself to fire Cherries away from the Premier League relegation zone – and fill the void created by Jermain Defoe’s absence.

Wilson bagged a potentially-priceless equaliser during Cherries’ thrilling Boxing Day draw with West Ham, his fifth goal since recovering from a serious injury.

The striker, who netted 20 times to spearhead Cherries to the Championship title, spent almost nine months out after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in February.

He sustained the same injury to his right knee in September 2015 having hit five goals in seven games in Cherries’ maiden campaign in the top flight.

While Wilson’s return in October gave Eddie Howe’s striking options a significant boost, the loss to injury of Defoe ahead of the festive period came as a major blow.

The England international is expected to spend around 10 weeks on the sidelines after fracturing his right ankle during Cherries’ Carabao Cup defeat at Chelsea seven days ago.

Wilson’s controversial late leveller against the Hammers saw Cherries remain 18th, a point adrift of safety ahead of key clashes with Everton and Brighton

“I am confident I can be the main goal threat,” said the 25-year-old. “I have been here for three years scoring consistently so would always back myself to be playing.

“If you get chances and don’t take them, you have to put up your hand as a striker. I want to be first choice on the team-sheet.

“That is what you work towards in your performances to make sure the manager selects you for every game and gives you the opportunity to play and help the team.

“If I didn’t think I could score the goals to keep the club up, I wouldn’t be a Premier League player.

“You always have to believe in your ability, back yourself and be confident. You need to remain focussed and keep going whether you are missing chances or not getting them at all.”

Wilson, who started in the Premier League for the seventh time this season against the Hammers, added: “Jermain is a great player, a great role model and professional.

“He is someone you want around you fit or injured. He has been a great signing for us and scored a couple of great goals at Crystal Palace.

“It is disappointing he is injured but I am sure he will come back stronger.”

Asked about Cherries’ league position, he said: “It is too early to start getting bogged down looking at the table and talking about relegation and this and that.

“We have to take it one game at a time because one win shoots you up the league so you have to focus on the next game.

“I am feeling good. It is a busy period but I am enjoying playing and I want to play as much football as possible.

“I am getting fitter and stronger with every game so long may it continue.”