EDDIE Howe admits Mark Molesley’s step into management took him by surprise – but is thrilled to see him make a successful start.

Molesley, who played under Howe for Cherries after joining in 2008, on Saturday clinched the Southern League South title with Weymouth, two years on from taking the job on a permanent basis.

The Terras recorded a 3-0 win over Farnborough to seal the crown in front of a whopping crowd of 2,676 at Bob Lucas Stadium.

And Howe says while he would not have predicted his former player’s move into the dugout, there are few people he would rather see succeeding in the role.

Asked whether he initially saw Molesley as management material, Howe told the Daily Echo: “I’d be lying if I said yes!

“One of the early things that struck me about Mark was he wasn’t afraid to be slightly different, whether that’s in his hairstyle, his dress sense or his personality – a real energiser.

“He was quite an extrovert and naturally I didn’t think management necessarily would be his calling.

“But what’s impressed me with him has been his work ethic.

“If he’s taken to a challenge or if he’s given a challenge, he will give it his all. It’s a great quality to have.

“He’s thrown himself into his coaching, his management and he’s doing a great job.

“He’s one of the nicest guys in football that I’ve come across. No side to him, a very, very ambitious lad and I wish him well.”

As well as managing the Terras, Molesley is also part of Cherries’ coaching setup as under-21 assistant to Shaun Cooper.

And Howe says juggling the two roles is proof of the former midfielder’s commitment.

“He loves a challenge and he’s got a great work ethic,” said the Cherries boss.

“I think if you don’t have those two qualities with the two roles that he’s got, it’s going to be all-consuming.

“So the ability to combine both roles is incredibly tough.

“Credit to him for doing it.”

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