EDDIE Howe says Connor Mahoney’s performances on loan at Birmingham have given him confidence that the winger can “be part of our future” at Cherries.

Mahoney, 22, spent the early part of the 2018-19 campaign as a substitute for the Blues before eventually becoming a regular in Garry Monk’s side.

Despite being deducted nine points following financial breaches, Birmingham avoided relegation from the Championship and finished 17th.

Mahoney ended the campaign having played 32 games in all competitions, scoring twice, and Howe was impressed by the performances of the Cherries man.

He told the Daily Echo: “I’m really pleased.

“I think it was a big call for him to choose Birmingham in the end. A Championship club with very good players there so he’s had to be patient initially to get his opportunity in the team.

“He’s had to fight and scrap to get those moments on the pitch but then once he did I think he played really well towards the back end of the season, created a number of goals for them.

“Not an easy thing to do as a young player so very, very pleased for him and with him. He’s another player I’ll be sitting down with to discuss the next step.”

As well as his spell with the Blues, Mahoney has also spent time on loan at Barnsley since joining Cherries from Blackburn in 2017.

The winger has played twice for Howe’s men, both in the FA Cup, and the Cherries boss believes the way Mahoney battled his way into the Birmingham team this season is encouraging.

He said: “It’s a great sign for us.

“It gives us confidence that Connor can come back here and be part of our future.

“He has had to do it the hard way this year. Fair play to him for that.

“The season that Birmingham had was quite a complex one with the points deduction and they’re all great experiences for him.

“That will help him for the future.”

Having got the taste for regular football, Mahoney expressed his desire for something similar again next season in a recent interview.

Speaking to Birmingham Live, he said: “I will meet with the gaffer down in Bournemouth, just have a little chat about the season, what he thinks I need to work on and how well I have done.

“I have got a few years left there but I will reiterate to the gaffer that I need to be playing week in, week out.

“I think this season I have proved to a lot of people that I should be in a good environment and playing football each week.

“That’s something me and him will look at and go from there.

“The main thing for me next season is to push on and get more games under my belt.”