MANAGER Eddie Howe is preparing to make crucial appointments as he looks to replace Shaun Brooks and Paul Groves in the Cherries youth ranks.

Howe, who has made several changes to his backroom staff since returning to the club, has described the department as “arguably the most important” at Dean Court.

Chief executive Neill Blake tonight confirmed the departures of head of youth Brooks and Groves, who had been youth team manager and head of coaching.

The pair, whose exits had been predicted by the Daily Echo on Monday, had been absorbed in the youth ranks after being relieved of their duties with the first team in October 2012.

Former Cherries star Mattie Holmes, currently technical development centre manager at the club, has been placed in temporary charge while Howe sources replacements.

Howe, a product of the club’s youth ranks under Sean O’Driscoll, told the Daily Echo: “We are planning to find the right people to lead the department forward and that is the key thing to focus on now.

“The department is the lifeblood of the club and the next generation of AFC Bournemouth players are going to come through it so our job is to find the right people to move things forward to the benefit of the young players we have.

“Every club needs a flourishing youth system. All the top clubs in England want to bring through their own players, get them in young and educate them on how they play. Then, when they are 18 or 19, you have a player who has been with you for a number of years, knows the demands you place on them and exactly how you want to play.

“We are desperate to bring through our own players but we have to make the process better in order to do that and that is what we are looking to do.”

Howe said neither Holmes nor development squad coach Stephen Purches were being considered for the positions, adding he would be looking to fill them “as quickly as possible”.

“Mattie’s forte is very much with the younger players and making sure we get them technically sound,” said Howe. “By his own admission, that is his real strength so we will be looking to keep him with the younger age group.

“I am delighted with Stephen Purches and the role he is doing at the moment. He has taken to it extremely well and the development squad has made huge strides in a short period time.”

The departure of Brooks and Groves could pave the way for a sensational return for Joe Roach, who was controversially axed from the position in June 2011.

Roach, who was responsible for nurturing a wealth of talent during his 10 years at the club, has apparently not been ruled out, the Daily Echo understands.