Cook says boss Howe can guide Cherries back to the Premier League

Cook says boss Howe can guide Cherries back to the Premier League

Get the Sports AM newsletter

STEVE Cook said Eddie Howe had been “amazing” for all Cherries players and added: “I’m sure he can guide us back to the Premier League.”

Defender Cook suffered his first relegation with the club having risen from League One all the way to the top-flight during the Dorset outfit’s rapid journey.

The club’s record top-flight appearance-maker, Cook featured in 168 of Cherries’ 190 Premier League fixtures before they were sent down on the final day of the season on Sunday.

He leads those standings ahead of Joshua King (161) and Adam Smith (143).

Howe post-match on Sunday said he would be speaking with owner Maxim Demin as well as the board of directors about the club’s next steps.

And Cook, who has played more than 300 times under the Cherries boss, said it was key to keep the long-serving manager.

Asked whether it was vital the club kept Howe, the 29-year-old told the Daily Echo: “Yeah, 100 per cent. I think there’s no other person I can see and would want to guide us back to the Premier League.

“I think it’s vital that we try to keep the players that we’ve got – our best players - headed up by the manager and his staff behind us.

“I’m not quite sure if I could see anyone as good as the manager and how loyal he has been with the club.

“I’m sure he can guide us back to the Premier League.

“The manager has been here, he’s experienced everything. He’s one of the most hardworking guys I’ve ever, ever met.

“He’s been amazing for the players that are here and myself.

“He’s won us the Championship before. There’s no reason why we can’t go again – and do it again.”

A mainstay of Cherries’ sublime Championship-winning class of 2015 – Cook started all 46 league contests when Howe’s side gained promotion from the second tier.

Asked whether his main focus would be to get the club back to the top-flight again, the centre-back replied: “It has to be, but we know how difficult it is.

“We’ve seen teams in the past, massive teams not respond and fight for their lives in the Championship.

“It’s something we will be aware of. The individuals that stay and who come in, it’s going to be a very difficult job but something we have to not take lightly because the Championship is an extremely tough league.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s not great to be going back down there but ultimately I think over the duration of the season we deserve to be.”