TEMPERS may have briefly frayed when Paul Dickov and Eddie Howe were last together on the touchline, but the respect between the pair is very much intact.
This is the message from Rovers chief Dickov, who pits his wits against his Cherries counterpart today for the first time since some heated conversations during the south-coast club’s victory at the Keepmoat earlier this term.
Dickov put that down to the passion both young managers have and he says plenty of water has gone under the bridge since, with the pair holding an impromptu chat when they bumped into each other a few weeks ago.
Dickov, whose side are on the final leg of an epic trilogy of long away-day assignments after previous games at Brighton and Yeovil, said: “We may have had a little ‘chat’ on the touchline, but Eddie is someone I have loads of respect for and he’s a great guy.
“If anything, people should look at what happened, not necessarily at what me and Eddie did, but at the handshake and the beer afterwards. Which is how it should be.
“What we wanted to do was have the best for both teams. Funnily enough, our coach broke on the way down to Brighton recently at the services and Bournemouth had stopped there on their way up to Derby and me and Eddie had a good chat for 20 minutes. He’s a top bloke.”
The Rovers boss is confident his side will display more of an attacking edge against the Cherries after a blunt performance at Yeovil last weekend, a game which saw Chris Brown and Jordan Bowery under the weather with a virus.
He said: “Forward-wise, we were down to the bare bones and I genuinely believe – and this isn’t an excuse for Saturday – that if the two strikers had been fully fit, we would have got something out of the game.
“We just lacked a bit of cutting edge, although it was nothing to do with desire.”
Dickov admits that the presence of Rob Jones, who will undergo neck surgery on Monday and is ruled out for the rest of the season, will be missed, but he is confident there is enough leadership in the dressing room to be able to handle the 34-year-old’s absence.
He said: “We have got the likes of Tamas, Keegan and Brown and there’s a lot of experience still and as much as we will miss Rob, we believe we have other people who are capable of taking things on.”