EMERGING Cherries talent Eunan O’Kane believes the experience of role model Richard Hughes will boost his Dean Court development.
Summer signing O’Kane revealed he had been regularly quizzing his midfield colleague in a bid to tap into his knowledge of the game.
O’Kane has flourished since being handed a first-team spot by boss Eddie Howe and he has scored three goals in his past seven starting appearances.
A £175,000 recruit from Torquay, O’Kane hit the headlines on Saturday when his goal earned Cherries a 1-1 FA Cup draw at Premier League Wigan.
The 22-year-old says he is benefiting from working alongside ex-Scotland international Hughes, who returned to the team for the third round clash.
And O’Kane reckons Hughes’s nous will prove useful as he attempts to fulfil his potential.
The former Everton scholar told the Daily Echo: “I speak to Hughesie about situations whenever I can.
“He has been there and done it and I try to soak up as much information as I can.
“I think, sometimes, he maybe tells me to go away because I ask him too many questions.
“But he is someone who knows an awful lot about the game and someone who has done an awful lot so, as a young lad, I am going to try to tap into his knowledge. If he can teach me one or two things – or 20 things – then I will be very happy to learn from him.”
Hughes was deployed in a deep-lying central midfield role alongside O’Kane and Harry Arter at DW Stadium.
“Hughesie is tremendous to have behind you,” said O’Kane. “He allowed me and Harry a little bit more freedom to get higher up the pitch and support Tubbsy. It gave us a little bit more freedom to be creative as well.
“Everyone does a job for the team and Hughesie came in on Saturday and did absolutely great.”
O’Kane’s fine strike helped Cherries make it 17 matches unbeaten since Howe’s appointment as Paul Groves’s successor.
He is hoping the Dorset outfit can continue their form in the home clash with League One promotion rivals Swindon on Saturday.
O’Kane added: “Hopefully, the manager is rewarding me for my performances and long may it continue that I stay in the team and that the team keeps winning.
“It was tremendous to go to a Premier League side and cross them off as not having taken the run from us. That is something we have got to cherish and, hopefully, continue when we play Swindon on Saturday.
“It will be a tough test for us and we need to pick up points against Swindon to keep alive our dream of promotion.
“We need to put the run to the back of our minds and just concentrate now on picking up a win against Swindon.”