EDDIE Howe addressed Cherries’ fans ahead of the club’s season-defining Premier League showdown and added: “We are all in this together.”

The Cherries boss knows victory over Everton on Sunday could be enough to keep the club in the top flight for the 2020-21 campaign.

Anything less than that would see the Dorset outfit relegated to the Championship, putting an end to their five-year spell at England’s elite level.

Asked what message he would give to fans who have witnessed the ups and downs of this campaign, Howe said: “Not just this season but previous seasons. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for the support they have given me, the team.

“They are such a special group of people. We have had such a unique link between ourselves and them – it’s been a really close bond.

“I’m just so disappointed we haven’t had them with us through these nine games.

“It’s been a totally unique, different situation. But we’ve certainly missed them, so I just wanted to thank them for their support.”

Howe’s affinity with Cherries’ fans goes back to when he came through the ranks as a youth player, making his first senior appearance against Hull back in December 1995.

Supporters last month sent video messages to the club’s players and staff ahead of football’s resumption, with games currently being played behind closed doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Howe insists he can feel the support and emotion of the club’s faithful – the same as he did during his senior bow almost 25 years ago.

“I think I have said many times to the Bournemouth supporters that when I made my debut way back in 1995, that I felt their support right from minute one,” he told the Daily Echo.

“I really did, that’s not a cliché.

“I did a sliding tackle in the first two minutes and I felt a big piece of emotion coming my way. That has never changed all the way through.

“The supporters have been unbelievable for me in so many different ways.

“The messages after lockdown were really inspiring for me and the players to see, now that hasn’t transferred itself into some of the performances that we’ve seen but I think the players know they are there and supporting us.

“I certainly know they are. It’s just a shame you can’t feel it, touch it and experience it on game day but I really do thank them for everything they have done for us.”

Asked whether he will feel the same emotions going into Sunday’s battle at Goodison Park, Howe said: “I will certainly feel a lot of emotions, without a doubt.

“It’s a very surreal experience because you know people are there with you and you know people are feeling your pain if, say we’ve lost a game.

“I’m feeling it, my staff are feeling it, the players are feeling it, you know the supporters are feeling the same thing.

“But it’s quite a surreal experience to not have interaction with them during a game, after a game and obviously that’s missing now.

“But you know where they are. I think I know where they are mentally and how the supporters are feeling.

“I can assure them that we feel exactly the same and we are all in this together.”