Mixed feelings for Howe ahead of reunion
EDDIE Howe has mixed feelings about his return to Turf Moor.
On the one hand the former Burnley boss is looking forward to seeing former colleagues; some familiar and friendly faces.
On the other, the 35-year-old's emphasis is on Bournemouth, and taking points from his old employees.
“It’s awkward,” said Howe, who after 21 months at the Clarets helm returned for a second spell in charge of his boyhood club following personal tragedy with the sudden death of his mother.
“I want Burnley to do well, just not in our games against them, and they will be difficult games.”
Although Burnley have sprung a surprise in the Championship by taking top spot, there won’t be any surprise packages for Howe.
For not only is he thorough with his investigations into the opposition, he signed a number of the club’s first team regulars.
Full backs Kieran Trippier and Ben Mee were both loans from Manchester City who went on to become permanent acquisitions.
Howe worked hard and persistently to secure the signature of Jason Shackell the summer before last. The captain is delivering his best form for Burnley now.
Further up the field, a duo he first worked with at Bournemouth are bearing fruit for the Clarets this season.
Top scorers Danny Ings and Sam Vokes both came through the youth system at Dean Court.
Reunited at Turf Moor, they have formed a formidable partnership this season.
“I’m really pleased for Sam and Danny because not only are they very good footballers but they are really good people and I’ve got a lot of time for both,” said Howe.
“I worked with both of them for a long time as young lads.”
Of their 22-goal double act, Howe added: “I’d be lying if I said I knew it could work that well. You don’t know until you see them together.
“It’s great to see two products of the Bournemouth youth set-up doing so well.”
Howe knows his Bournemouth have their work cut out to keep them quiet tomorrow.
But he is satisfied with the start to the season the Cherries have made, after engineering an incredible turnaround on his return, taking the club from the League One relegation zone to automatic promotion.
Howe has no regrets about returning to Bournemouth, nor the decision to become Brian Laws’ successor in January 2011, in Burnley’s second season out of the Premier League.
“When we took the Burnley job we knew we were taking one of the hardest jobs available to us at the time,” he explained.
“It was a really difficult project and we had to cut the wage bill, sell players and bring the average age of the squad down, breaking up one of the most famous sides in Burnley’s history.
“We never got the success we wanted. We never broke into the top six and didn’t fulfil our objectives, but hopefully we went some way to building a new team.”
Howe added: “Sean and his team deserve all the credit for what they have done. They have taken the job and got a consistent run of results, and it's not an easy job.”
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