BOSS Eddie Howe believes casting his net to bolster the Cherries development squad will be the next step towards restarting the Dean Court conveyor belt.

Howe added to his resources during the January transfer window by signing three talented teenagers – Josh O’Hanlon, Ben Whitfield and Jonathan Muleba.

Their respective arrivals followed a restructure of Howe’s backroom staff with Joe Roach appointed head of youth and Carl Fletcher youth team manager.

Roach, during his first spell in the post, was responsible for unearthing a host of young prospects – including current Burnley strikers Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, who have forged one of the most prolific partnership in the Football League this season.

Striker O’Hanlon, versatile frontman Whitfield and defender Muleba all featured during a midweek reserve game against Brighton with Howe, assistant Jason Tindall and development squad coach Stephen Purches looking on at Canford.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “We didn’t bring in these players with a view to blocking the pathway of our young players. We did it to enhance their development. If you want strength in depth and a good youth structure, you have to have a strong development squad.

“You are never going to develop players when you only have four or five training together. You need a stronger squad so we had to increase the numbers. We didn’t think the strength was there in the youth team at the moment to push those lads through so we had to recruit.

“The standard of training will no doubt increase with the quality of player and also the number of players and will give us a much better chance to bring through players in the longer term.”

Howe, a product of the club’s youth set up under Sean O’Driscoll, has already exceeded the 12-month expectancy of the tenure of a Championship manager.

He added: “The importance of bringing through players is nothing to do with my lifespan as manager because I have to do what is best for the football club. You have to plan long term and that is behind everything we do.

“We can’t afford to continue to purchase players and need to develop our own, like we have in previous years and days gone by. That is where we are trying to get to again.

“I see the importance of that and am fortunate the people above me and the board support me because I think it will help us. The lads we have brought in are talented and I think they all have a chance, individually, to have a good career in the game so, hopefully, that will benefit everybody.”