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Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe gets set for 500th game as a manager

Eddie Howe is “very grateful for the opportunity” to be Bournemouth boss as he prepares for his 500th game in management.

Howe, who is in his second spell with the Cherries, will reach the milestone during Saturday’s Premier League game at home to relegated Fulham.

The 41-year-old initially managed the south-coast club between 2008 and 2011 before returning to the Vitality Stadium in October 2012 following a spell with Burnley.

He is the youngest manager to reach 500 matches in English football and has guided Bournemouth from League Two to the top-flight in that time.

“I only just found out it was 500 and my initial reaction was, ‘where has the time gone? Where have the games gone?’,” Howe said at his pre-match press conference.

“It doesn’t feel that many and it feels a bit of a blur, to be honest, the last 10 years – it’s gone so quickly.

“I have crammed a lot into that period of time. It’s been a hugely enjoyable and successful period, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity to manage this club.

“People put their faith in me and I was desperate to repay that and do the best job I could.

“To this moment, I’m still doing the same thing. I’m trying to repay everyone for giving me this chance.”

Bournemouth banished any lingering fears of relegation by thrashing Brighton 5-0 last weekend.

The convincing win at the Amex Stadium moved the 12th-placed Cherries on to 41 points, five shy of their record Premier League points tally with four fixtures remaining.

“The target is to win the next game and we’ll see from there what happens with the rest of the season,” said Howe.

“We need to make sure we don’t drop our levels.

“I would be very disappointed if we didn’t see the same team in terms of endeavour, spirit and togetherness that we saw against Brighton.”

Fulham’s immediate return to the Sky Bet Championship was confirmed almost three weeks ago.

Howe, however, insists his players cannot afford to underestimate Scott Parker’s side, who beat Everton 2-0 last weekend.

“There can’t be any aspect of that in our mentality going into this game – you only have to look at Fulham’s last game and how they played against Everton,” he said.

“In recent weeks, I think there has been a big upturn in their level of performance so we know with every Premier League game we have to be at our very best.

“Here at home, we need to get back to our best levels because I’ve been a little disappointed by the previous couple of games.”

Howe has no fresh selection concerns going into the weekend.

Full-backs Diego Rico and Charlie Daniels and midfielder Andrew Surman remain out injured, while Simon Francis and Lewis Cook are long-term absentees.