EDDIE Howe says he has been “really impressed” with Shaun Cooper's continued work as the club's under-21s boss, adding "I see very good signs for him for the future".

The former Cherries star is approaching the one-year anniversary of stepping into the hotseat having replaced Carl Fletcher in October 2018, after he took on a new role as the club’s loan manager.

Cooper, who turns 36 this week, previously worked as the under-18s assistant before moving up to the under-21s, where he is assisted by Mark Molesley.

The pair, who played at Cherries together a decade ago, capped their first season working as a duo with a trophy, defeating Notts County 2-0 in the final of the Central League Cup.

Cooper's charges are in action at Vitality Stadium on Saturday, welcoming Nottingham Forest in the first group game of this year's Premier League Cup (11am).

Asked what he has made of the job Cooper has done since he replaced Fletcher, Howe told the Daily Echo: “I’m really impressed. I think he’s taken to the role really well.

“He’s very calm and very low maintenance as a coach.

“I can leave Coops to work and get on with the job, knowing that he’ll do a very good job for the team and for the players involved.

“He’s put the hours in. He’s worked tirelessly with Mark Molesley for the benefit of the group and I see very good signs for him for the future.”

Among the players to feature in the final against Notts County were Mark Travers and Gavin Kilkenny, who have both since gone on to make their first-team Cherries debuts. Nnamdi Ofoborh and Kyle Taylor also started against the Magpies and are now plying their trade out on loan in the Football League.

And Howe, who played 22 times alongside Cooper for Cherries between 2005 and 2007, was pleased to see his former teammate's efforts rewarded with a trophy.

“It was great experience and a great moment for the players,” said Howe.

“The chance to win silverware at any level is what this game is all about.

“I’m delighted for them and for Shaun Cooper and Mark Molesley with the work that they’ve done with those players.”