EDDIE Howe admits the pace of Cherries’ revival has surprised him – but is refusing to get carried away at the prospect of writing a new chapter in the Dean Court record books.
Howe is bidding to become only the second manager in the club’s history to mastermind a promotion to the second flight, following in the footsteps of Harry Redknapp in 1987.
Since taking the reins for a second time in October, the 35-year-old, who left Burnley to return to Dorset, has presided over 14 wins and five draws during a season-saving 20-game league run.
His efforts, together with those of his players and staff, and co-owner Maxim Demin’s financial backing, have propelled Cherries from the lower reaches of League One to within touching distance of top spot.
Victory over Crewe at Gresty Road tonight, coupled with second-placed Doncaster failing to beat MK Dons, would see Cherries hit the summit, their highest placing under Howe in his two spells as manager.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “It is great to be where we are at this stage of the season. But there is a long way to go and a lot of games to play. We are not going to get carried away but are certainly pleased with the momentum we are building.
“I am pleased we have won games and built momentum, it has been everything we didn’t expect. We didn’t expect to come in and, suddenly, go on the unbeaten run and get the wins we have. We thought it would be a long road ahead to try to get the club into mid-table.
“It has surprised us and it has surprised us how well the players have done and how they have adapted to the demands placed upon them. I can’t praise them enough as a group. They have shown a great mentality in every game they have played. I am proud to see the players performing with the confidence they are at the moment.
“It was great to see another big crowd here on Saturday and I am proud of the support we are getting, both home and away.
“These are really good times for the club and, hopefully, it can stay that way. But in football you go from game to game because it can change so quickly and we know that.”
Howe’s assistant Jason Tindall added: “Success is the biggest motivator and there is no better feeling than being successful at what you do.
“We have some fantastic memories of our first spell at the club, like staying up against the odds and then winning promotion. You can play or manage for many years and not achieve anything like that.
“We are now in a position where achieving success is possible but we aren’t going to get above our station or ahead of ourselves.”