MANAGER Eddie Howe believes Cherries will face “a tough and tricky” assignment in the first round of next season’s League Cup.

Cherries, one of 35 clubs seeded in today’s first round draw, were handed a trip to League Two outfit Exeter City in the southern section.

Howe’s men will head to Devon during week commencing 11 August and will be favourites to progress against the Grecians at their St James Park headquarters.

However, a strong finish to last season saw Exeter register home victories over eventual runners-up Scunthorpe and play-off winners Fleetwood on their way to securing 16th place.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “Our recent record in the League Cup has been indifferent and this has all the makings of being another tough encounter.

“We will certainly need to be at our best if we want to get through and Exeter will be difficult opponents on their own ground.

“We were fortunate to have three home draws out of four in the two cup competitions last season and you are always hoping for home advantage.

“Exeter had some excellent results at home towards the end of last season and will be hoping to take that into the start of next season. Away ties are always tricky and this promises to be no different.

“We finished strongly and will be looking to maintain the momentum and performance levels at the start of next season and continue to build.”

Cherries, who overcame Portsmouth in the first round last season before exiting to Watford, have not reached the third round since 2004-05.

They will be hoping the omens are good as victory in their last encounter against Exeter in the League Cup in 1987 set up a second round clash with Southampton, which Cherries won over two legs before going down 3-0 at Arsenal in the third round.

Cherries, whose best League Cup run saw them reach the fourth round in 1961-62 and 1963-64, also met the Grecians in the first round in 1978 with the Devonians progressing over two legs.