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Cherries: Howe urges Donal to show consistency
Howe has called on the 23-year-old to demonstrate the right attitude as he bids to hold down a regular place in the Cherries team.
McDermott, signed from Huddersfield Town in January, was convicted of drink-driving in April and he was also handed a club punishment for missing the team coach to Bury in the same month last season.
But Howe revealed McDermott had been “a pleasure to work with” since his return as Cherries manager and he rewarded the Irishman with a starting spot in the 3-3 draw against Notts County on Tuesday night.
Having made just two appearances under previous boss Paul Groves this term, McDermott followed his cameo against Tranmere with an eye-catching performance and an assist at Meadow Lane.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “Donal did well. He started as a number 10 in behind Lee Barnard and he had moments and flashes in the first half.
“I thought he looked better when he went to the right in the second half. I think it suited him better and that is where he created the goal.
“He has got real ability. It was his first game in a long time, hence why we took him off. His fitness levels aren’t quite where he would probably want them to be at this moment.
“But he has certainly got ability and it is a case of if he can produce that creativity on a regular basis and can he show us the right attitude every day in training to warrant a place in the squad. They are demands I place on every squad member, regardless of who they are, but that is Donal’s battle in particular.”
Howe added: “The responsibility is always with the player to come to work ready to train. I have to say, since we came through the door, Donal has been a pleasure to work with and I have had no issues with him. And while he warrants a place, we will certainly pick him.
“We think he has got fantastic ability and we would love to see it on a consistent basis in our team, but that is down to Donal.”
Howe is expected to consider whether to again start with the lively creative trio of McDermott, Marc Pugh and Josh McQuoid when Cherries visit Carlisle tomorrow (3pm).
He said: “The balance of the side is so important. The beauty of Josh is he can play any of the attacking roles – wide or up front. Donal can play in the number 10 role and out wide, and I see Marc Pugh as an out-and-out left player.
“We do have options within that to get them all in the side but there may be certain games where you might want something different.”