BOSS Eddie Howe has resisted the temptation to play down the significance of Cherries’ next two games, describing the visits of QPR and Reading as “huge”.

Howe believes the eagerly-anticipated Dean Court double-header against the two Championship promotion contenders could “dictate” Cherries’ chances of reaching the play-offs.

Sixth-placed Reading, who travel to Dorset a week today, are currently five points ahead of Cherries in the final play-off berth, while Saturday’s visitors QPR are third.

Fellow promotion hopefuls Brighton and Wigan play their respective games in hand tonight with the Seagulls heading to Blackburn and the Latics hosting leaders Leicester.

A superb run of six wins and a draw from eight games in March saw Cherries close the gap on the play-off places from 14 to five points.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “It is going to be very difficult and we are still not in the driving seat. The other teams are masters of their own destiny and we are trying to catch them.

“We have seven games to go with big home games against QPR, Reading and Nottingham Forest. These games will dictate what happens, especially the next two. They are huge.”

Howe, meanwhile, was keen to offer a public vote of thanks to supporters with some having travelled more than 2,225 miles to watch five away games during March. He also said he shared their excitement.

“The support and dedication has been incredible,” said Howe. “I am really pleased we have be able to give them some results to enjoy as well because there have been some long journeys in there. Full credit to them and I can’t thank them enough for their support.

“I am excited because this club has never before been in this position. Who wouldn’t be excited by the run we are on and the football we are playing. I think these are exciting times for the club, whether we make the top six or not.”