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Wednesday 18 July 2018

Howe ready for top-flight test

Eddie Howe is confident his Bournemouth team can compete
Eddie Howe is confident his Bournemouth team can compete

Eddie Howe believes his Bournemouth side is primed and ready for their inaugural season in the Barclays Premier League.

Bournemouth's opening-day fixture against Aston Villa comes six years after they narrowly retained their status in the Football League.

It is poised to be one of the standout matches of the weekend, and Howe, who has presided over the club's stunning three promotions to the top tier of English football, is hopeful a challenging off-season will pay dividends this term.

"It's been a tough summer but an enjoyable one - my wife will tell you that I have had no time off," Howe said.

"I had a family holiday for a week, but even that was consumed with phone calls and work, so I have found it full on, but that's only because you want to do the best job you can.

"If there is such a thing as a workaholic I could be labelled that.

"We did get some good early business done but not everything that we wanted. So I'm really pleased to get a couple of good signings in yesterday (Max Gradel and Lee Tomlin). The squad now looks in really good shape."

Howe's incredible success on the south coast has already seen him earmarked as a potential England manager.

Indeed Gary Lineker, the former Three Lions striker, compared Howe to Jose Mourinho, labelling him the 'English Special One'.

"I'm certainly not one that looks too far ahead," Howe said when asked of his managerial ambitions.

"I am a very private guy. I like being with my family. I find it a bit awkward because I don't really seek the publicity. All I want to do is do my job and go home.

"I've got a very balanced view when it comes to management. I know how volatile it is and how difficult it is. You can be looked at favourably one minute then not the next.

"My aim is to try and be Bournemouth manager this time next year. That means we've achieved our objective."

Howe has strengthened his team heading into the new season following the arrivals of Gradel and Tomlin earlier this week. They join Tyrone Mings, Sylvain Distin, Christian Atsu, Joshua King and Artur Boruc at the newly-promoted side.

And Howe insists he does not feel the need to be overly loyal to the players who helped the club complete one of the game's most remarkable ascents.

"I do what's best for the team and if that means being ruthless and making some tough calls, I've proved in the past I'll do that," Howe added.

"It's never easy to let go of players that have served you so well. But you have to think of the team going forward.

"I judge everyone on their last performance and their last training session. The lads have had a tough pre-season and we've worked them very hard but I think we're going to be ready for this."

Press Association

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