Cork grateful for Cherries chance
Jack Cork will always be grateful for the opportunity granted to him by AFC Bournemouth as a teenager.
The Clarets midfielder only spent two months with the Cherries during the 2006/07 campaign after being taken in by Kevin Bond.
But it was the first time that he’d been sent away from Stamford Bridge to stand on his own two feet.
Cork, on Chelsea’s books at the time, was one of nine youngsters allowed to leave on loan by boss Jose Mourinho that term with Ryan Bertrand also joining him at Dean Court.
The England international, who was 17 at the time, made his professional debut in a 4-2 defeat against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium in League One.
He went on to play eight more times for the club - including FA Cup ties against Boston United and Bristol Rovers - with his first taste of victory coming against Nottingham Forest on the South Coast.
“I had a spell at Bournemouth, it was my first club when they were in League One,” he said. Eddie [Howe] was still playing.
“It was a good club, they gave me a chance to play my football there.
“It’s a nice, family friendly club and I always enjoy playing against them.
“They took a massive punt on me.
“I was there with Ryan Bertrand and we went straight in to the team when they were near the bottom of the table.
“It was good that they showed that faith in us to do that.
“Not a lot of teams would do that now with a 17-year-old.
“It was a great experience and I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to do that there.”
Cork would only share a pitch with Howe on two occasions as the defender’s playing career petered out due to a recurring knee injury.
However, even during that brief spell, Cork could tell that there was a manager in the making.
With Howe now in his eighth year of stewarding the Cherries, with a stint at Turf Moor separating his two spells, Cork said: “He was just coming to the end of his playing career and starting out with his coaching.
“He was a good player, a good pro and you could always tell that he was going to go into coaching.
“He was a good leader on the pitch, one of the more experienced players and you could just tell that was the way he was going.
“He’s done brilliantly to do how he’s done and to do it with the club he’s been so popular at.
“It’s an unbelievable achievement.
“They got relegated to League Two so he’s saved that club.
“He kept going and going. He went back there after a spell at Burnley and got them in to the Premier League.”
The Clarets go in to Saturday’s game against AFC Bournemouth without a win in 10 games in the Premier League, stretching back to the end of last season.
But it’s happened before to Burnley.
They went 11 games without victory in the top flight last term, between the middle of December and beginning of March, but followed that up with five wins on the bounce to finish seventh.
And Cork is praying for a repeat. “We went 11 without a win during the middle part of last season and we didn’t even drop a place.
“It shows the league is full of ups and downs.
“Teams will go through phases of not picking up wins and we just have to come back from this one as quick as we can.
“We came out of that patch and won five games on the bounce and that’s what we need to do now.
“We came out of that period strong and pushed on until the end of the season.
“The momentum helped us last season and pushed us higher in the table than we thought we would be.
“Even if we’d have carried on losing we would have still finished the season in the top half of the table.
“We know that we’ve got the players to get out of this.”