EDDIE Howe’s future as manager of AFC Bournemouth last night remained in the balance following a day of intrigue at Dean Court.

Howe was expected to give a decision on whether he would be staying put or leaving to join either Crystal Palace or Charlton Athletic.

However, he is understood to have delayed giving an answer to Cherries chairman Eddie Mitchell and asked for more time to consider his options.

Howe, who has always been known to put the interests of his players first, was also thought to be keen to inform his squad of his decision before it was made public through the media.

Cherries players had been scheduled to train as normal at Canford School today, although the squad was instead summoned to meet at Dean Court at 11am.

During a day of suspense, supporters remained in the dark as the rumour mill went into overdrive, with no official statements on Howe’s future made by the club or the manager.

The plot thickened when bookmakers made Howe the odds-on favourite to take over at Palace, Charlton and Burnley, another club believed to be courting him.

Developments were captured by a live blog on the Daily Echo website which was followed by a peak audience of more than 1,200.

Cherries’ official club website carried a video interview with chairman Mitchell as he left Dean Court following a mid-afternoon meeting with Howe and assistant Jason Tindall.

It is believed Mitchell may have tried to persuade the management duo to stay with the club by offering them both improved contracts.

However, Championship strugglers Palace and League One rivals Charlton are both understood to have offered Howe and Tindall astronomical financial packages.

Speaking as he left Dean Court yesterday afternoon, Mitchell, asked if Howe was still manager, replied: “Yes he is, as we speak.”

And asked whether he was hopeful Howe would still be manager today, Mitchell replied: “Sure I am.”

Mitchell, who added that Howe had not tendered his resignation, said: “I’m not privy to what Eddie does outside of the football club. All I know at the moment is that he is still manager of Bournemouth.

“We can’t do any more than we have. It’s Eddie’s decision and we would wish him well, whatever he decided to do.

“We had a chat and it is a very tough decision for him to make. It’s Eddie’s life, not ours, but we want to keep him and everybody in the town wants to keep him. He has to make his own decisions.

“I think Eddie knows the importance of making a decision as soon as possible, but he wants to make the right decision. He is very deep and intelligent and he needs to think about it and he’ll let us know when he is ready. I want him to stay as long as possible and that’s my hope.”

n Visit bournemouthecho.co.uk/sport for live updates.