EDDIE Howe played down comparisons between Harry Cornick and Charlie Austin after sealing a deal for the latest Wessex League wonder.

The Cherries boss yesterday gave Cornick a chance to fulfil his potential after handing the Christchurch hotshot a place in the professional ranks.

Poole-based teenager Cornick has been recruited by Howe after scoring in a reserve game during a successful trial with the Dorset club in November.

The speedy winger, who signed an 18-month contract, will continue to play for Christchurch and complete his A-levels in biology, psychology and PE at Poole Grammar School before joining Cherries permanently in pre-season.

Cornick’s huge leap from step five of the non-league pyramid will inevitably lead to him being likened to former Poole Town striker Austin.

Austin’s talents were first recognised by Howe before he went on to forge a prolific reputation with Swindon and Burnley, initially under Howe.

But Howe told the Daily Echo: “I would be reluctant to compare him with Charlie because Charlie was different.

“He had been in that environment for a long time and just by looking at Charlie you could tell he was a man – even then at such a young age.

“But Harry is different. He is a little bit more fragile and we have definitely got to take care of him physically but he has different attributes to Charlie as well.”

First linked to Cherries in the Echo in September, Cornick was also understood to have attracted interest from the likes of Stoke City, Southampton, Reading and Fulham. But Howe secured his services and then urged the 17-year-old to put in the work and dedication.

He said: “Hopefully, he will adapt and learn and listen to the coaches that will work with him and make good progress because we saw in the reserve game, although it was a brief appearance, that he is very quick, and anyone with pace does have a chance.

“We are only too delighted to give him this opportunity. He is a great lad with a really good attitude and he wants to learn and get better. Those are all the things we look for in players.”

Howe, who labelled the deal “a risk worth taking” for both parties, added: “He has got pace, good feet and an eye for goal. It is very much a case of a year for Harry to see if he can make a career in the game.

“He needs a lot of work and dedication now to see if he can make a go of it.”

While Christchurch are likely to host Cherries in a friendly as part of the deal, they will not receive a transfer fee as Cornick was not on contract. Cornick becomes the fifth Priory player to join a professional club, following Jody Craddock (Cambridge United), Dan West (Aston Villa), Ben Dickenson (Brighton) and Michael Green (Port Vale).