EDDIE Howe believes Brett Pitman’s dramatic return to Dean Court shows Cherries are serious about their Championship ambitions.

The enigmatic Bristol City striker yesterday finalised terms on a loan move to Goldsands Stadium, which is expected to be made permanent when the transfer window opens in January.

Pitman is understood to have agreed personal terms on a three-and-a-half year contract and, although no fee has been reported by the club, the Echo believes it is in the region of £60,000.

Jersey-born Pitman left Dorset for Ashton Gate in August 2010 after spearheading Cherries’ against-all-odds promotion from League Two the previous season.

The 24-year-old netted 20 times in 36 starts for City, making 81 appearances for the club.

Pitman came through the youth ranks at Dean Court as a 16-year-old, before making his club debut in the Carling Cup win over Torquay in 2005.

In his five seasons at Dean Court, Pitman scored 62 goals from 197 appearances and was a key man in the club’s dramatic escape from relegation in 2009.

Pitman picked up the Micky Cave-Daily Echo supporters’ player of the year award that year.

Speaking to the media following last night’s 1-1 draw with Stevenage, boss Howe said: “When you get the chance to sign someone of Brett’s quality and calibre, it’s not an easy one to turn down.

“We know him and we go back a long way. He did fantastically in his first spell here.

“Hopefully, he will come in and continue where he left off.

“He is still a good age and it’s a great deal for the football club. It’s a statement of intent to show that the club means business.

“You can’t argue with Brett’s finishing ability and what he will bring to the team.”