EDDIE Howe praised the work under-18 boss Alan Connell had done with Cherries’ young guns and added: “He is developing into a really good coach.”

Connell, who took the role with the club’s youth team in July 2017, is set to prepare his side to tomorrow take on Cardiff in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup at Vitality Stadium (7pm).

The Dorset club’s youngsters have all but won the EFL Youth Alliance South West Division under Connell this season.

And having played with and managed the former Cherries striker, Howe is happy with the work he is doing as part of the club’s staff.

The first-team boss told the Daily Echo: “Alan has done great. He has taken to the role like I hoped he would.

“Knowing him as a player and his mentality, what he was like around the training ground. He was just so level, motivated, very inquisitive and wanted to learn.

“He has taken all those qualities into the role. He is developing into a really good coach.”

Howe was present as Cherries progressed past Barnet in the third round at home last month.

A double from Christian Saydee along with strikes from Harvey Bertrand and Luke Pardoe put the hosts 4-0 in front.

But three goals in seven minutes saw Barnet claw back into the contest and set up a nervy finish.

Cherries did however hammer Portsmouth 9-1 in league action at Dorchester Town’s Avenue Stadium last week.

“Getting through the previous (cup) round, which was a bizarre game, was important for everyone connected with the club,” said Howe.

“You want to see those lads get the biggest games possible, the highest exposure to pressure that they will face in the first team.

“It’s a small replica of that really and a this will be a really important game for them.

“For some of them it probably will be their biggest game. For others it will be a memory they look back on with immense pride because it helped them get to where they wanted to be.”

He added: “You can never tell what the future holds for all of those players.

“That’s the beauty of it, when you see them, you never quite know where they are going to go from this point.

“All I’d say to them is give their best and the rest will take care of itself.”