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Cherries: Eddie will need time insists Fletcher (with video)
Howe has been tasked with reviving the club’s fortunes and will take charge for the first time on Saturday when Cherries host League One leaders Tranmere (3pm).
His first spell in the hot-seat started in January 2009 in similar circumstances when struggling Cherries hosted high-flying opposition – with Fletcher proving pivotal to their eventual success.
Re-signed by Howe from Crawley on the eve of a clash against Wycombe, Fletcher’s return sparked a dramatic upturn which led to Cherries preserving their Football League status.
Fletcher told the Daily Echo: “Although I was only here for half a season, it was probably my most memorable time at the club. Scoring the winner against Grimsby to ensure we stayed up will remain with me forever. It all started when we beat Wycombe in Eddie’s first home game.
“I hope this season can be memorable for different reasons. Everything is at the opposite end of the scale now at the club and this is a fresh challenge for Eddie, one I know he is relishing.
“There is no comparison between now and 2009. The squad is much bigger, the club is in a much healthier financial position and, perhaps the biggest difference, the expectations are high.
“Eddie will be under no illusions about the size of the task. I just hope people appreciate that it is not going to happen overnight or at the click of a finger.
“He is two years wiser after managing in the Championship at Burnley and that experience will stand him in good stead for what he has taken on here.”
Fletcher, who has made three substitute appearances this season, did not feature as Cherries registered their first home win after Howe and assistant Jason Tindall had been unveiled six days ago.
“Everyone was on a high and the boys performed well to see off Orient,” said Fletcher. “The whole place was buzzing and the supporters were superb.
“We have carried it on during the week and training has been good. It has been intensive and competitive. We just need to keep up the momentum. We need to get ourselves on the crest of a wave and see where it could take us.”
Asked whether he saw his role changing under Howe, Fletcher, who has been carrying out ambassadorial work for the club this season, replied: “I am a player and I want to be in the squad for every game.
“If I’m not, I will do everything I can to help the team succeed and, hopefully, Eddie would want me to be an influence in the changing room where I can pass on my experience and knowledge.
“Having everybody pulling in the right direction is vital if you want to be successful and what happened here in 2009 was proof of that.”