GAVIN Kilkenny is targeting promotion with Stoke City this season after completing a season-long loan move from Cherries, insisting he is looking to "really push on in my career".

The Republic of Ireland under-21 international joined Cherries as a teenager in 2016 and made his first-team debut in August 2019.

The talented midfielder had to be patient for his chances, but enjoyed a good run in the side during the early months of last season under Scott Parker.

However, opportunities became limited after Christmas, with Kilkenny almost heading out on loan to Blackpool in January.

The 22-year-old eventually stayed put, but has now got the chance for more regular football with Michael O'Neill's Potters in the Championship.

"I'm buzzing. I'm really excited to be here," Kilkenny told Stoke's website.

"Obviously a massive club with a lot of history, so I'm just delighted to get here finally and looking forward to getting started.

"I've been quite a quick process. We were in the off-season and I was back home in Ireland and we heard about the interest a couple of weeks ago.

"It's been a quick turnaround fortunately, so I'm delighted to get here and just looking forward to getting on the pitch now."

He continued: "I know a lot about them (Stoke).

"Obviously I remember them back in the Premier League and I'm sure the club has aspirations to get back there.

"So that was all part of the process for coming here, that this season we try and get back there.

"There's a lot of history and a huge club, so no better place for me to be at this stage of my career than here I think.

"At the start of the (last) season I featured regularly and played a good few games (for Cherries) - I played down here in the away fixture.

"So it was a good season for myself. Obviously towards the end I came out a little bit, but this season now I'm hoping to get off to a flyer, get into the team from the start and really push on in my career."

Kilkenny has made 24 appearances for Cherries, but would have faced stiff competition for a starting spot, following the arrival of Joe Rothwell on a free transfer.

The club also boast Philip Billing, Lewis Cook, Emiliano Marcondes, Ben Pearson and Jefferson Lerma as central midfield options.

Asked if he was tempted to stay and try and force his way into the Premier League side at Cherries, Kilkenny said: "Obviously that's a big pull, which I had to make a decision on.

"But I think obviously with the size of the squad and stuff like that, now the plan will be to come here, help Stoke do well and in turn hopefully do well myself and then maybe next season go back to Bournemouth and see where that takes me."

He added: "It is quite a change for me. Obviously I've been at Bournemouth for six years now, this would've been my seventh year, I came at 16.

"So it's obviously a big change for me and a big thing, but it's great.

"It's a breath of fresh air, so maybe it's just what I need at this moment, a change of scene and hopefully something to kick-start this season and see what happens."

Stoke, who finished 14th last season, begin their Championship campaign away at Millwall on July 30.