Fletcher tips Howe for PL

Cherries stalwart reveales top flight dream

Howe: Fletcher backing

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Bournemouth striker Steve Fletcher reckons boss Eddie Howe will manage in the Premier League, regardless of whether it is with the Cherries.

Howe has developed a burgeoning reputation in the game as a young manager with potential after saving the South Coast club from non-league oblivion before guiding them to League One last season.

His achievements have led to other clubs making enquiries about his services, with neighbours Southampton the latest to make an offer before the 32-year-old rebuffed them to remain at Dean Court.

And Fletcher - who played in the same Bournemouth team as Howe - says his friend has the ability to guide the club to the very top, although the player is sure his manager will ply his trade in the Premier League whatever happens.

Top manager

The 38-year-old told Skysports.com: "It is a difficult one for me because everyone knows that I am good friends with the manager and that we used to room together at Bournemouth when he was still playing.

"You don't want to lose a good friend, but also a top manager and on the other hand you always want to see them go on and better themselves. It would be wrong not to think like that towards your fellow professionals.

"I do believe that Eddie will go on and manage at the top level. Obviously, we would both love that to happen with Bournemouth, but if it doesn't then I'm sure he will get the opportunity to test himself in the Premier League."

Fletcher admitted he was relieved to see Howe turn down the job at Southampton but believes more opportunities will be forthcoming for the former defender should he continue his impressive work.

"I'm delighted that he is still here," added Fletcher. "But if he keeps going on the way he has been then there will be some really big clubs after him and the carrot dangling in front of you can be too difficult to refuse.

"At the moment he is still here and he always has been Bournemouth through and through, so I am sure he is happy to be here trying to continue the good work that he has been doing.

Unfinished business

"I'm sure there have been a number of other clubs looking at Eddie when looking for a new manager, but Eddie still believes there is unfinished business here and that we can go on and achieve bigger and better things than we already have."

Howe had two spells playing at Bournemouth before taking up the reigns and the remarkable turnaround of the club's fortunes means eyes will remain on his progress.

Bournemouth have surpassed expectations again with a bright start in the third tier and Fletcher is eager for the two parties to maintain their upward curve as they look to achieve their ambitions.

He went on: "I know that if Eddie had a choice that he would prefer to be a successful top-flight manager with Bournemouth than any other club, but whether that will happen and to what extent, we will have to see.

"It is important that we continue our great start to the season, for both Eddie and everyone else connected to the club, and long may it continue."