EDDIE Howe is hoping Cherries’ journey into uncharted territory could give them the edge as the race for the Premier League heads towards a thrilling climax.

Boss Howe has this season piloted Cherries to the upper reaches of the Championship where they are battling for promotion with a host of established clubs.

Howe’s men tonight face Fulham in a Sky Sports-televised clash knowing victory at Craven Cottage would take them back to the top of the table (7.45pm).

Asked whether he felt a lack of experience in his squad was a concern heading into the run-in, Howe replied: “Experience doesn’t win you games and, if it was based on that, we wouldn’t be where we are.

"I think sometimes the fact you are different, you have a different viewpoint and come from a different place can be your strength.

“Nobody expected us to be in this position. We haven’t been here before so, in some senses, that fear, if there is any, might not apply to us. We can play with freedom and enjoy these big-pressure games. We can enjoy the big occasions because it isn’t every day we go to Fulham in the position we are in.

“Going to Craven Cottage will be a really good occasion for us and our supporters. A few years ago, they were competing in major cup competitions in Europe.

"They are a very good side and have some very good players from their time in the Premier League so it is a big task for us. But, the bigger the task, hopefully, the more we can rise to it.”

Asked whether the prospect of going top was added motivation, Howe said: “I don’t think we need any more incentive. When you consider what is at stake for us and all the other teams fighting for those positions, going top at this stage would be nice but it wouldn’t mean anything more than that.

“The bigger picture for us is that with so few games to go, you don’t want to be left with any regrets and it is a case of trying to do everything you can to pick up points.

“It is almost like the league starts again because it is so tight and we have to try to get consecutive wins because they are so important at this stage.

“You are aware of the table but I don’t look at the fixtures and see what other teams are doing. It is all about our fixtures and making sure we try to maximise our performance and only affect what we can control.”