Howe must be given a chance to turn it around


Bournemouth have slipped into the bottom four of the Premier League but surely Eddie Howe has earned the right to sort things out.

Howe’s second stint as Cherries chief began in October 2012 and he has guided them from League One to the top flight.

It seemed as though the Vitality Stadium outfit were now established as a solid Premier League side, but, after an encouraging run up until the start of November, the wheels have fallen off.

Injuries have not helped, with many first-team stars out of action and, although quick to play down the significance of absentees, Howe knows that he is struggling.

Bournemouth have lost eight of their past 10 league games, with only a shock victory away at Chelsea and draw at home to Arsenal providing any respite.

They are 18th in the standings and in the midst of a relegation battle with the likes of Watford, Norwich City, Aston Villa and West Ham.

Others may join the fight as the campaign progresses but the south-coast club must look after themselves.

The next four fixtures could make or break their season, with home games against Watford, Brighton and Aston Villa plus a trip to Norwich on the agenda.

They are all winnable, and things could be very different after Dean Smith’s Villans visit on February 1.

If they are the same or worse, however, then questions will start to be asked about Howe’s position but why would they look elsewhere when the 42-year-old has already performed miracles to keep the club in the promised land for four seasons?

A change at the helm does sometimes provide an initial lift but, so late in the season, it could be more of a hindrance than help to the Cherries’ survival hopes.

No manager is ever immune for the sack – take Claudio Ranieri at Leicester as an example – but nobody with a leaning towards the red and black would want to see Howe dismissed.

A 4-0 FA Cup triumph over Luton Town would have been a confidence boost but it is league points that they crave.

The manager has already alluded to the fact that being so low down in the table might actually act as a spur to some of his players but he just needs men to return from the treatment room and get back out on the pitch.

Goals have been hard to come by, with only 20 from 21 games and it remains to be seen if they look to recruit a few attacking players in the present transfer window.

That might make a difference and the club’s hierarchy need to trust a man who has brought them so far to do the business once again.