BRETT Pitman has vowed to make the most of his second stint as a Championship footballer – by winning back his starting slot with Cherries.
The Jersey-born frontman was a prolific presence in Cherries’ march to League One promotion last season but has found his opportunities limited by fierce competition for striking places at Dean Court.
Top scorer Lewis Grabban’s fine form, coupled with the arrival of record signing Tokelo Rantie and January addition Yann Kermorgant have restricted Pitman to a largely support role.
The 26-year-old hitman last started a league fixture at Queens Park Rangers in December but has played a part in all but four of Cherries’ second-tier fixtures this season.
But despite admitting he had envisaged a bigger helping of the action, Pitman insisted he remained happy with his role.
Discussing his season so far, Pitman told the Daily Echo: “It has been okay. I have had some good games and some not so good games. Lately, I haven’t played as much as I would have liked to.
“But I am happy here and I’m not going to start kicking up a fuss because I haven’t played for a little bit. My focus is on working as hard as I can in training to get back in the team.
“It has been a little bit frustrating for me, but more importantly I feel like the squad, not just the team, has grown in the Championship and we are getting better and better by the week.
“Everyone has a lot to prove. Whether you have played 10 games or 100 at this level you always want to show people your best and what you can do and I am no different.
“I think I still have a bit to prove in the Championship but, hopefully, I can do that.”
Pitman completed a big-money move to Bristol City in August 2010 and fired in 13 league goals during his maiden campaign.
However, he found himself steadily pushed out of the first-team picture at Ashton Gate before rejoining Cherries, initially on loan, last season.
And Pitman, who signed a three-and-a-half year Dean Court deal in January 2013, reckons the fact he feels more settled on the south coast can make all the difference in his second Championship venture.
He added: “At Bristol City, I was a little bit more frustrated. I wasn’t as happy as I am here.
“Working with a manager who wants to improve not just me but everyone at the club keeps you focused. As a project, the club is moving in the right direction and I want to be a part of that.
“I grew up in this area from the age of 15, my fiancée’s family are down here and we are very comfortable. We enjoy living down here.”