EDDIE Howe is hoping to level the scores with Aston Villa boss Dean Smith when the pair face-off for the first time in over six years this afternoon.

The only other meeting of the duo came in League One in January 2013, when Smith’s Walsall defeated Howe’s Cherries 3-1 at Bescot Stadium. Cherries went into that game unbeaten in 15 league matches since Howe returned for his second spell in charge at the club.

Trailing 2-0 at the break, Brett Pitman’s goal reduced the arrears before Eunan O’Kane inexplicably picked the ball up in his own box having thought he heard a whistle, allowing Will Grigg to step up and fire home the resulting penalty.

Recalling the contest, Howe told the Daily Echo: “I think we had gone there (after) something ridiculous we’d gone unbeaten (for) and done really well and that was the game where that came to an end. I do struggle to remember the game. Eunan’s incident is something that stands out, but hopefully we have a different result this time.”

He added: “I’ve obviously had a lot of battles down the years in the lower leagues and games that I remember fondly, games that I don’t remember as fondly and that’s the beauty of it.

"You see people work hard to try and get somewhere and me and Dean have ended up in the Premier League now competing against each other. It’s nice to look back sometimes.”