CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe admits he has sympathy with opposite number Brian McDermott over the uncertainty surrounding a proposed takeover at Leeds.
Massimo Cellino’s bid to buy a 75 per cent stake in the club was last week put in doubt when the 57-year-old Italian was found guilty of failing to pay import duty on a yacht.
Cellino, who has owned Serie A club Cagliari for 20 years, is understood to have invested £6 million in Leeds and today learned that the Football League would not ratify his takeover, although he could appeal.
McDermott was dragged into the saga at the end of January when it appeared he had been sacked by the prospective new owner, with Cellino understood to have been keen to install Gianluca Festa, the former Middlesbrough and Watford defender, as the club’s new head coach.
However, current owners Gulf Finance House Capital were subsequently forced to release a statement insisting McDermott remained in his post, while Cellino later revealed he had tried to telephone the former Reading manager in a bid to “reinstate” him.
Howe, who was at the helm when Cherries were taken over by the Murry Group in 2009, told the Daily Echo: “It is difficult to know the impact it is having on them because every case is different. With us, we went through a whole range of scenarios and used them to help in terms of the adversity and I found it quite a good way to motivate the players.
“But I think the Leeds situation is different and there has been a lot of confusion at the club. Like most managers up and down the country, I certainly feel for Brian and the situation he has faced. I think he is an excellent manager and proved that by getting promotion from this league with Reading. He has all the ingredients you need to be successful and you hope it has a happy ending for him.”
Previewing tomorrow’s clash at Dean Court, when Cherries will be hoping to stop the Championship’s top marksman Ross McCormack adding to his 26-goal haul, Howe said: “He has had an excellent season. He is a real livewire and they have good players around him as well. They have talent on the pitch and an excellent manager. It has just been unfortunate for them how the season has unfolded.
“It will be an interesting battle between two teams who are evenly matched and close in the league table. We have been good defensively recently and they have been an attacking threat all season.
“We were frustrated with the game at Elland Road in October where we lost a man early and fought valiantly but ended up with nothing. It will be good to see the teams and how they have changed since that game. It is a good chance for us to show we have improved.”
Howe said he had no fresh injury concerns to report ahead of the contest, while Leeds will be forced to do without striker Connor Wickham who has been recalled from a loan spell by parent club Sunderland.