WHATEVER it is about Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, the combination certainly seems to work.

When Howe left Burnley to return to Dean Court in October, professionally at least it was a major step down.

Everyone understood that family reasons were the deciding factor in his Turf Moor exit, but otherwise swapping a Championship side for a club sitting one place above the League One relegation zone was something of a risk for his career.

Howe had done a remarkable job at Bournemouth first time around to earn his move to Burnley, guiding the cash-strapped Cherries from the brink of relegation from League Two to the League One play-off places. But never go back, they say, because it is hard to replicate previous success.

Although there are mixed opinions on his time at Turf Moor, things had certainly not gone as smoothly as he would have hoped.

A difficult second spell at Bournemouth would have left his managerial reputation severely dented.

What has happened since his return to Dean Court, though, has been quite remarkable.

Bournemouth have played 15 matches, winning 11 of them and drawing the other four. They are now seventh in League One, level on points with the play-off places.

On that sort of form, it is not impossible that Bournemouth could be playing Burnley in the Championship next term.

Most, myself included, wished Howe well on his return to the south coast.

Keith Treacy may have admitted he did not enjoy working with Howe, and the cracks seemed to be appearing in that relationship as early as last October.

I recall the manager having a heated discussion with his winger on the pitch at the New Den, only minutes after a victory at Millwall.

But the majority found Howe to be a thoroughly decent man.

In the end, his move probably worked out best for everyone.

Fans were growing increasingly frustrated at results at Turf Moor.

He had taken 11 points from the first 10 games of the current campaign, while the Clarets have now collected 19 points from 13 matches under Sean Dyche.

Howe’s relationship with Bournemouth was unique. Stepping up to become manager after being at a club for several years is a very different task to arriving at a new club and starting from scratch.

It is easy to say it with hindsight, of course, but Burnley perhaps needed a short-term boost to revive their promotion hopes midway through their first season after relegation.

The long-term approach was with the best of intentions, but once you miss out on promotion the first season it becomes so much harder from thereon in.

Howe’s reign was not a disaster, but it did not deliver what everyone wanted. His impressive start on his return to Bournemouth, though, has ensured that his reputation remains largely intact.

Hopefully both Burnley and Bournemouth can enjoy success.