CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe plans to assess Matt Worthington before deciding whether to keep him in his first-team squad or loan him out again.

Worthington gained valuable experience with League Two outfit Yeovil during the first half of the season before returning to Vitality Stadium last week.

The 20-year-old midfielder made 19 league and cup appearances for the Glovers, often featuring alongside Cherries team-mate Sam Surridge.

Howe handed Worthington his Premier League debut as a second-half substitute during Cherries’ 1-1 draw at Leicester on the final day of last season.

It capped a memorable campaign for the academy product who was rewarded with a new contract in January 2017 and skippered Cherries in the final of the Hampshire Senior Cup in May.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “Matt has a great attitude. He wants to do well, he wants to learn and has all the characteristics of an AFC Bournemouth midfielder.

“His loan expired after Yeovil’s game on New Year’s Day and we are delighted he is back with us. We will have a look at him in training and see how he has developed.

“For us, the majority of these loans are to develop players to see how they improve and Matt had a number of games so it has been great for him.

“You need to know how players are progressing. We will look at him and see where he is in his career and then make another decision as to whether he goes out on loan again or whether he stays as part of our squad.”

Worthington captained Cherries during today’s hastily-arranged Central League defeat by MK Dons at Canford Arena, which was switched having been postponed yesterday due to a frozen pitch at Brackley Town.

He was joined in the Cherries starting line-up by four other players who had spent the first half of the season on loan – Mark Travers (Weymouth), Jordan Lee (Torquay), Ollie Harfield (Poole) and Mihai Dobre (Bury).

Worthington, Dobre and Nnamdi Ofoborh all created early chances for Cherries before Travers made two top-drawer saves to keep out efforts from Osman Sow and Brandon Thomas-Asante.

However, the goalkeeper, whose handling and distribution were excellent, was powerless to prevent Thomas-Asante’s thunderous strike giving the visitors the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Dons stopper Alfie Jones denied Mikael Ndjoli after the Cherries striker had gone through one-on-one before the visitors doubled their lead when Sow was on hand to convert Thomas-Asante’s driven cross at the far post in the 68th minute.

Defenders Shaun Hobson and Tyler Cordner both went close to halving the deficit with powerful headers, with Cherries winning a penalty after Lee had been fouled 18 minutes from time.

And although Ndjoli sent Jones the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-1, Cherries were unable to fashion an equaliser despite applying late pressure.

Cherries: Travers, Lee, Hobson, Cordner, Harfield, Ofoborh, Worthington, O’Connell, Anthony (Dinsmore, 70), Dobre (Vincent, 59), Ndjoli. Unused subs: Clements, O’Flaherty (g/k).