JONATHAN Woodgate hailed Stephen Purches “a really impressive coach”, adding how he has “tapped into” the Cherries hero’s expertise since joining the club.

Woodgate arrived on the south coast in February having no past working relationships with the coaching staff at Cherries.

Just two days after joining as a coach, Woodgate found himself in charge of the team, following the dismissal of Jason Tindall as manager.

He has since brought in two new coaches he had previously worked with, in Joe Jordan and Gary O’Neil. However, it is Purches who occupies the assistant manager role, as he did under Tindall, stepping up from his previous position as first-team coach last summer.

Discussing the dynamic working alongside Purches, who was born just eight days before Woodgate in 1980, the Cherries boss told the Daily Echo: “If you both haven’t got an ego and you’re both decent people, then you’ll get on.

“If one of you has got an ego and if you think you’re better than what you are, then you aren’t going to get on. It’s as simple as that.

“So if you’re a good human, you’ve got a chance of working with anyone.

“That’s how I look at it and Purchy is that type of person and I’m that person. So it’s good, I’m enjoying it.

“I didn’t know anyone before I came down. I’d only spoken to Jason a couple of times.

“It was a difficult situation for every single one of us, every coach. I didn’t really know any of the coaches at all personally.

“But when you get thrust into action, you’ve all got to stick together and no matter what you think is wrong or what you think is right, clubs make a decision.

“Purchy has been very good. He’s a really, really impressive coach. Some of the sessions he puts on are really good.

“He’s great with advice, I ask for his opinions and I think that’s important as a group that you rely on each other, you rely on people’s opinions and they give you an honest view and that’s what I get.

“I don’t like yes men, I like people with opinions. I like people to test me and push boundaries and I think as a coach that’s the only way you’re going to evolve.

“If you have yes men in your backroom team then it isn’t going to work.

“You need people to test you and put ideas to you, see what you like and see what you don’t like and they’ve all been very good since I’ve been here.”

Cherries look well-placed to secure a spot in the end of season play-offs, currently five points clear of seventh-placed Reading with five games to play.

And that is a position Purches knows all about, having himself scored in the Division Three play-off final 5-2 victory against Lincoln City in 2003 at the Millennium Stadium, during his initial seven-year stint at Cherries.

Asked how much that experience can help the current crop of players in their quest for promotion, Woodgate said: “He (Purches) is a benefit in everything really. He knows all the younger players coming through as well, I think that’s important since I’ve been here.

“He offers advice on different scenarios of what’s happening at the club. He’s been there and done it at this club, so it’s really pleasing to have him.

“He’s worked with an exceptional manager in Eddie Howe, he’s worked with a special assistant in Jason Tindall, so he’s full of experience and someone that I’ve tapped into in a huge way really.”