MANAGER Eddie Howe hailed Steve Cook and insisted the defender had scored “no bigger goal for this club” than his Newcastle match-winner.

Cook ended an 11-month wait for a goal when his thumping header earned Cherries a vital 1-0 win at Newcastle yesterday.

His 16th effort for the club saw Cherries move out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time since the end of August.

Since opening his top-flight account with a consolation in a 3-1 defeat at Norwich in September 2015, Cook’s six other goals have all helped Cherries secure victories.

He paved the way for important wins over Southampton and Aston Villa in Cherries’ maiden campaign in the Premier League and also netted to seal victory against Swansea.

Cook restored Cherries’ lead during the 6-1 hammering of Hull last season before making it 3-3 in the epic 4-3 victory over Liverpool at Vitality Stadium in December.

His heroics at St James’s Park came after Cook had sustained an ankle injury inside the first minute which had threatened to bring his day to a premature end.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “He hurt his ankle as he went to make a clearance and it looked like he was struggling.

“He has contributed important goals for this club ever since he has been here and has a way of scoring as a centre-half which has been priceless for us.

“He hadn’t done it for a while and we had been saying he was due one. There is no bigger goal he has scored for this club than that one.”