AFC Bournemouth: Eddie Howe confident Marc Pugh will stay

Marc Pugh

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says getting Marc Pugh to sign a new contract is his number one priority.

The winger is out of contract in the summer and is yet to sign a new deal.

But Howe says he is confident they will be able to persuade the 25-year-old to commit his long-term future to the Cherries.

"If we can convince him we are an ambitious club and we are trying to go places then hopefully he'll sign that contract," Howe told BBC Radio Solent.

Pugh was offered a new contract by the club in the summer, but turned down the deal stating his desire to play at a higher level.

Howe says Pugh's ambition should be admired: "He deserves a lot of respect for not signing his new contract.

"I look at it both ways. He backs himself and his ability. He's not money motivated and all those qualities I really like in people. It's got to be right for him and we respect that."

Speaking on Thursday Pugh hinted that he may be willing stay on, citing the return of Howe as a factor.

Howe, who signed Pugh in 2010, returned to the Cherries last month for a second spell in charge of the League One club after nearly two years as manager of Burnley.

When asked, "is there more chance of Eddie Howe persuading you to sign a contract than there was in the past?" Pugh replied, "When we were performing really badly [under Lee Bradbury and then Paul Groves] it was a no brainer [to leave] because I do want to play at the highest level.

"But since Eddie and Jason have come in they've brought new life into the place.

"There is no change to the contract situation, it is still ongoing so I'm concentrating on my football and I'll leave the off-field business to my agent.

"Every player is ambitious, the club is on the up and we are performing brilliantly and who knows where the next couple of months may take us? I'm keeping my head down and doing my best for Bournemouth."