CHERRIES have tonight confirmed the loan signing of Brett Pitman.

Pitman, who left Dean Court in 2010 to sign for Championship outfit Bristol City, is expected to put pen to paper on a permenant deal in January.

His expected return was first mooted by the Daily Echo following Eddie Howe's return as manager in October.

The Jersey-born striker's return to Dorset could see loan star Lee Barnard return to parent club Southampton in January.

Pitman's arrival could co-incide with the departure of Wes Thomas, who is understood to have submitted an official transfer request.

The ex-Cheltenham striker, who joined Cherries from Crawley in September 2011, is believed to be a target for Championship outfit Blackpool.

New Blackpool manager Michael Appleton is an admirer of Thomas having taken the striker on loan when he was in charge at Portsmouth earlier this season.

And although Cherries boss Howe would be relcutant to let Thomas go, it is understood the 25-year-old sees his future elsewhere and is keen to leave.

Thomas may be allowed to go on loan ahead of Thursday's deadline and would almost certainly command a fee should the move be made permanent in January. 

Meanwhile, Cherries have also confirmed this evening that winger Marc Pugh has signed an improved three-and-a-half-year deal, keeping him at the club until 2016.