Brett Pitman: Boss Eddie Howe hails Bournemouth striker

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has paid tribute to striker Brett Pitman who has been named League One Player of the Month for March.

The 25-year-old's goals have helped fire the Cherries up to second in the table as they chase promotion to the Championship.

Pitman has 16 goals this season and has scored in his six previous matches.

Speaking on Thursday, Howe told BBC Radio Solent. "He is a key man for us and the set up of our team."

The Cherries manager continued: "I think his performances through time have got better and better."

AFC Bournemouth's remaining regular season fixtures

  • Shrewsbury (a)
  • Carlisle (h)
  • Tranmere (a)

Howe, who brought Pitman back to the club from Bristol City added: "It's not just his goals but his all round play. His work rate has been excellent."

The Cherries take on Shrewsbury at the weekend, trailing leaders Doncaster by only two points, with three games remaining.

Doncaster themselves lost in midweek as did fellow promotion rivals Sheffield United and Swindon, although Brentford maintained their challenge with victory at Crewe.

Howe insisted he was taking no notice of results elsewhere and is concentrating solely on his team's remaining games.

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Our aim is to finish on top, we are just behind Doncaster now, so we have to reach for the stars

Marc Pugh Bournemouth midfielder

"Midweek has not changed anything," he added. "We are preparing for a big game this weekend and the results of other clubs have no bearing on what we do.

"They are all threats, we are not looking at one team, we need to concentrate on winning our final three games."

Bournemouth are hoping to reach the second tier of English football for the first time since 1987 and midfielder Marc Pugh has urged his team mates to "reach for the stars".

He also echoed his manager's sentiments that they should only focus on their own matches and not results elsewhere.

"It keeps us on our toes and we just know we have to concentrate on our games and I'm sure we'll be fine," Pugh told BBC Radio Solent.

"It's better for us to have points in the bag and let other teams worry about us.

"Our aim is to finish on top, we are just behind Doncaster now, so it's achievable and we have to reach for the stars.

"We all have the belief, some great characters and some really good players."