BURNLEY have issued a ‘hands off’ warning after manager Eddie Howe was linked with a return to his old club, AFC Bournemouth.

The Clarets boss was installed as one of the bookmakers’ favourites for the vacant post, after Paul Groves was sacked yesterday.

The League One Cherries have won only one game this season, and it is believed that chairman Eddie Mitchell is keen on a reunion with Howe, who led the club to promotion at the end of his first full season in charge in 2010, despite operating under the constraints of a transfer embargo.

However, I understand that at this stage of his career – and less than two years after making the step up to the Championship with Burnley – Howe would not be interested in going back to Dean Court, where he began his career as a defender.

The Clarets would also be reluctant to lose their boss.

Chief executive Lee Hoos said: “Burnley Football Club would not welcome any approach for Eddie Howe from any club.

“We are in the process of building for the future with Eddie and his staff and speculation is an unwanted distraction.”