CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe admitted recent instances of supporters entering the field of play had been “hugely alarming” and urged the authorities to act in order to prevent a “tragic event”.

Paul Mitchell was jailed for 14 weeks after he invaded the pitch and struck Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish in the early stages of the Championship clash with Birmingham on Sunday.

Gary Cooper was charged with common assault and encroachment on to the pitch having pushed Manchester United defender Chris Smalling during Sunday’s Premier League fixture at Arsenal.

In the Scottish Premiership some 48 hours earlier, Rangers skipper James Tavernier was confronted by Hibernian supporter Cameron Mack when he attempted to take a throw-in at Easter Road.

Mack, who admitted a breach of the peace charge, is due to be sentenced next month.

Discussing those incidents, Howe, the Premier League’s longest-serving boss, told the Daily Echo: “I was very disappointed to see it.

“When you go to a football match, you want to be enjoying the football, you don’t want to be analysing matters which have happened through supporters entering the field of play.

“It’s hugely alarming, looking at player safety. That would be a huge concern for me and I think it needs to be dealt with very seriously.

“We’re very lucky no one has been seriously injured. But I don’t want us to tempt fate and sit here on another day and for there to have been a tragic event which has unfolded.

“So I think the authorities need to look at it and put plans in place to try to stop this happening again.

“It would be foolish to say they are isolated incidents. There has been too many to say that and you just don’t know where it’s going to go and what the next thing is.

“Player safety is of huge importance. Players need to go on the pitch thinking about football and their performance. They can’t be worried about their wellbeing.”

Asked if there was any particular action he would like to see implemented, Howe said: “It’s a really difficult one because I don’t think you want to go back to big fences and all that kind of stuff.

“What the answer is and what the authorities need to do, to be honest I haven’t given it much thought.

“But naturally, I think they will be taking it very seriously and player safety talks will all be covered.”

Quizzed further on whether he could foresee a day on which he would withdraw his players from the pitch over safety fears, Howe said: “I certainly hope not.

“In this country, we pride ourselves on the sport and giving the best show for everybody around the world – that’s why everyone wants to watch the Premier League and the Football League.

“We don’t want things like this to tarnish that. I certainly hope it would never come to that and, hopefully, we can nip this in the bud now and it will become a distant memory.”