BOURNEMOUTH'S promotion drive received a huge boost after Scott Chislett's knee injury was revealed to be less serious than first feared.

One of Lions' most trusted lieutenants, Chislett was a casualty of Saturday's 28-7 victory over visitors Exmouth when he was forced off during the second period.

Boss Will Croker had been concerned the inside-centre would miss the rest of the South West Premier campaign. But now there are hopes former Ferndown Upper pupil Chislett could recover from medial collateral ligament damage by the end of next month.

Croker told the Daily Echo: "Initially, we thought that would be him done for the season at least. But it turns out he has an MCL tear and is likely to spend anywhere between six and eight weeks out.

"Scott is a very quick healer so we would hope it would be the shorter end of that spectrum.

"We have a bit of a strange run through February and March where there are some gap weekends, partly because of the England internationals and partly so clubs in bad weather areas can get their backlog of fixtures in.

"The upshot is we only have two games in February and two in March.

"We are hoping we might be able to get him back for the end of March so he may play in the last three or four games including a play-off if we get there."

Lions on Saturday travel to second-bottom Lydney, who have back-to-back victories on home soil.

And Croker, who has steered his side to six wins in their past eight games, will be without Ali Bennett due to a knee strain. Luca Firetto will also miss out as the club are obliged to follow head injury assessment protocol.

Second-place Lions are locked in a three-way battle for the play-off spot, possessing three and four-point advantages over Maidenhead and Newton Abbot, respectively, having played a game more than both of their rivals.

Discussing the play-off race, Croker said: "I'm absolutely loving it. This is the reason you get into coaching.

"We are the ones in the box seat as we have the points and wins on the board and the other teams have to try to catch us.

"We are buoyed by the fact Maidenhead and Newton Abbot have to play each other and then come to us, so things are in our favour to an extent. But all we can worry about is beating Lydney on Saturday.

"Lydney are always really strong at home. They have got a partisan crowd and it's a proper rugby hotbed.

"They are coached by Jason Forster, who took Dings to the play-offs last season, and he has had a real battle to right the ship.

"If you look at their results, they have had some really tough encounters and come through with some points, so we aren't going to take them lightly.

"It's the archetypal banana skin for a team looking for promotion."