Fletch Does Not Know Howe

CARL Fletcher probably knows more about Burnley manager Eddie Howe than any of their peers, but even he does not have a clue what Argyle should expect from Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie at Turf Moor.

Fletch and Eddie were team-mates who lived together at Bournemouth in the early part of the millennium and have trod similar footballing paths, with Fletch’s career in the dug-out so far closely following that of the slightly older Howe.
Both, for example, took over a club in stormy seas and steered it into calmer waters; both forged a tremendous spirit that helped achieve that; both are highly organised and fiercely ambitious.

They meet on Tuesday as young opposing managers, having spoken only briefly since both their sides booked their place in the second round of the competition.

“I spoke to him after the draw and he suggested we should both play,” joked Fletch. “I told him that’d I think I’d last about two minutes.

“He’s got a lot of options, so I don’t want to waste too much time trying to second-guess him.

“He’s got some good quality players at his disposal and can obviously change a few things from the weekend and rest a few players, or maybe keep it the same.

“So, like we do for any game, we try to prep for what we need to do and concentrate on what we need to do.”

Although he admires what Howe has achieved, Carl is not mapping out his own career on what his friend has achieved.

“I don’t think you try to copy anyone,” he said. “He’s done really well in management, especially with Bournemouth.

“He’s fervent and a winner. He doesn’t like losing to anyone, let alone me.

“Any manager wants to do well, to aspire to certain things, and I’m no different, but it’s a lot of hard work, and a lot of ups and downs along the way, but you have to keep plugging away.”

Argyle are massive underdogs to progress to the third round of the competition for only the second time in 21 seasons against Burnley, who won 3-1 at Port Vale in round one.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Fletch. “Burnley are a good Championship side who, a couple of years ago, were in the Premier League.

“It will be a real tough test for us, but one to look forward to. Nothing is really expected of us – no-one is expecting us to get a result – so there’s no pressure.

“We had a similar game against Portsmouth [in the first round] – it was a no-lose situation. It’s nice to go up there and be able to concentrate on what we need to do.”