BOSS Eddie Howe insisted he and Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce have a “good relationship” as they prepare to do battle for the first time.

Bruce stepped into the Magpies hotseat in July following the departure of Rafa Benitez at St James’ park.

The former Wigan and Sunderland manager has guided the Tyneside outfit to 15th in the Premier League this season, with 12 points from 11 games.

Asked about his opposite number ahead of tomorrow’s showdown in the north east (3pm), Howe told the Daily Echo: “I didn’t realise we hadn’t come up against each other before but I’ve spoken to Steve a few times. He’s always a great guy.

“We have a good relationship so looking forward to seeing him.”

On the game itself, the Cherries boss said: “I think we know it’s going to be a really tough test and they’ve got some outstanding individual players.

“We’re going to have to deal with that while taking the confidence of the (Manchester) United win from our side and try to make sure that shows in our game as well.

“We know it’s a good examination of our recent form.”