THE STEP into coaching is a well-trodden path for Cherries heroes of the recent past.

While the current first team management duo of Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall are the clear figureheads, a plethora of names from the same era are also making their way on the other side of the white line.

Lee Bradbury went from dressing room to dugout to take over as Cherries boss when Howe left for Burnley in 2011 and has this summer become Eastbourne manager after a successful six-and-a-half-year stay at Havant and Waterlooville.

Ryan Garry is another from the 2008-09 ‘Greatest Escape’ squad who spent a brief spell coaching at Cherries before moving onto pastures new and is now part of the staff at Arsenal.

While Bradbury and Garry have now left Dorset, many ex-Cherries are still making their way at the club.

Steve Fletcher works as part of the first team coaching staff while Shaun Cooper and Mark Molesley guided the under-23s to success by lifting the 2018-19 Central League Cup.

The list does not end there with former striker Alan Connell in charge of the under-18s, who this year reached the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1969.

And while the main focus is still on his playing days for now, Cherries hero Danny Hollands is considering following a similar path to many of his former team-mates.

Now 33, Hollands last week penned a new contract to extend his stay with National League side Eastleigh into a third season, where he is club captain.

But the midfielder admits he is considering his next step.

Hollands told the Daily Echo: “I do a bit of coaching now for Portsmouth under-13s, so I’m trying to get my eye in.

“A lot of the lads (at Cherries) have taken that way of coaching.

“I go and watch them and it’s fantastic to now see them go from playing for Bournemouth to now trying to help the next generation come through and try and get to the Bournemouth first team.

“It might be a case of learning off them and hopefully becoming a coach and moving forward.

“You never know what the future will hold for me.”

Asked if he’d like to return to Cherries one day, Hollands added: “I’d never rule it out.

“I had some fantastic years here. I loved every second I was at Bournemouth.

“It’s a fantastic place and it holds a lot of memories in my heart, so you would never rule it out.

“But you can never tell how football is going to end. You never know what opportunities you’re going to get and where things will fit into the puzzle.

“I would never say never, but it has to be the right time or right opportunity.”

While Hollands is now based in Hampshire, he still retains a close affinity to both the town and people he met during a five-year stay at Cherries between 2006 and 2011.

“I still come down and see people,” he said.

“I spend time down here in the summer. It’s a fantastic place.

“We had a great squad and some of my real, real close mates in football are the Bournemouth players.

“I’m always seeing them and speaking to them day in, day out. We had a good bond then and we’ve kept that for 10 years, which is quite unbelievable really considering in football you really stay in contact with three or four lads throughout your whole career.

“It’s tough to keep in contact with people, but we’ve had that strong bond and hopefully that may continue.”

Hollands spent his time with Cherries in Leagues One and Two, where he played 219 games and scored 28 goals, but the club are now about to embark on a fifth straight campaign in the Premier League.

And the Ashford-born ace believes Howe is more than capable of pushing the side back into the top half after finishes of 12th and 14th in the past two seasons.

Hollands said: “They’re coming to a tough stage now because where do you go?

“You’re then aiming for Europe. But for me, Eddie’s shown he’s a fantastic manager.

“They’ve got good stability within the club. I believe they’ve got good coaching bringing youngsters through, so they’ve got all the foundations to keep progressing.

“Hopefully they can keep progressing and see European football. Why not?

“No-one thought Bournemouth could stay in the Premier League for five years. They’ve done that and each year they look better and more comfortable.

“The calibre of players they’re bringing in is more high profile, so hopefully that continues and the club keeps moving forward because it’s a fantastic place to live, it attracts people and they play good football.

“Hopefully they stay there because they deserve to certainly.”