CHERRIES star Eunan O’Kane has revealed that a no-nonsense pep talk from Eddie Howe helped get his Dean Court career up and running.
The former Everton scholar says a straight-talking chat with Howe left him in no doubt as to what was required to flourish in the Cherries midfield.
Since being given his chance by Howe, O’Kane’s form has been one of the driving forces behind Cherries’ push for League One honours.
The summer signing from Torquay, who has started 11 games in a row, has caught the eye by netting three goals and providing five assists.
And O’Kane credits the demands of Howe with putting him on the right track to proving his credentials.
He told the Daily Echo: “Before I played against Carlisle, he sat me down and said ‘I need to demand things of you physically if you want to play in there (central midfield) in a two’.
“He basically told me if I couldn’t do it, then I wouldn’t play. Thankfully, I went in and managed to do what he required of me.
“He said he didn’t want to have me as a luxury player who could only play in the hole or in a three.
“He said he needed me to prove that I could play in a two and that requires doing a lot of the dirty work.
“But he also said he didn’t have any doubt about my footballing ability, it was just the uglier side he needed convincing on. Hopefully, I have now managed to convince him I can do that and I will stay in the team for quite a while.”
O’Kane, who lives in Parkstone, hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after conceding a bizarre penalty in Cherries’ 3-1 League One defeat at Walsall on Saturday.
The midfielder saw referee Andy Davies point to the spot after he had picked up the ball, thinking the official had already blown for a foul.
Now able to smile about it, O’Kane quipped: “I was sitting in my bedroom on Wednesday and my girlfriend was crying with laughter in the living room so I went in to see what she was doing, and she was watching it on the laptop!
“She had a good giggle at it and was nearly crying on the floor as she found it that funny, but it was safe to say I didn’t really find it funny at that stage.”