CHERRIES star Brett Pitman admitted his FA Cup heroics against Burton had helped exorcise the ghost of a previous nightmare in the competition.

Pitman marked his return to the starting line-up by netting twice in Cherries’ 4-1 win over the Brewers as Eddie Howe’s men earned a dream date with Liverpool.

The striker opened the scoring with a close-range effort after five minutes before despatching emphatically a late penalty to finish off the League Two high-fliers.

Pitman will be hoping to keep his place when Cherries host the Premier League big guns in a televised fourth-round clash a week on Saturday (ITV, 12.45pm).

The Jerseyman blotted his copybook when he was sent off in front of the Setanta cameras during Cherries’ dismal FA Cup defeat by non-league Blyth Spartans five years ago.

Pitman received a straight red card for a poor challenge on Paul Watson just minutes after he had come off the bench in the second round replay at Croft Park.

The Conference North minnows went on to win through thanks to Ged Dalton’s goal – with Cherries missing out on a lucrative televised third-round tie against Premier League Blackburn.

Pitman, a Manchester United supporter, told the Daily Echo: “Things happen. It was disappointing at the time to go out but I didn’t mean to get sent off. I tried to win a tackle but it wasn’t a good tackle. I think I have learned from that and was pleased we didn’t slip up against Burton.

“We played very well, especially in the first half. We were unlucky not to be further ahead and they got a fortunate deflected goal.

“But we showed good character to score again before half-time and, although the second half wasn’t pretty in the conditions, we showed we were comfortable winners.

“Meeting Liverpool is going to be a great occasion for the club and for us. You want to test yourself against the best players and it is a game we are looking forward to.

"It is nice to do well in the cup and to try to draw a big team. It is something I haven’t experienced before so I am looking forward to it.”