Brett Pitman on the verge of Bristol Rovers exit as non-league club closes in on him

Brett Pitman has a route out of the football club. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)Brett Pitman has a route out of the football club. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Brett Pitman has a route out of the football club. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) | Getty Images
One of Rovers’ experienced players is set to depart the Mem for a chance in the non-league.

Eastleigh are closing in on the signing of Bristol Rovers striker Brett Pitman, who has been allowed to leave the club.

A deadline day move did not happen for Pitman but as the Hampshire side are not bound by a transfer window then he is free to move.

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In the 17-year playing career that the striker has had, he has not played in the non-league, so this is his first steps into semi-professional football.

A tweet from BBC Radio Solent Sport say that the National League club are close to taking the player from the Memorial Stadium.

Eastleigh are currently 15th in the fifth tier of English football and are six points above safety at the moment but are currently without a manager after parting company with Ben Strevens.

Former Rovers defender Josh Hare is currently on their books after returning to the Spitfires after leaving Rovers in the summer, though he and Pitman never crossed paths.

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Last week, Joey Barton was asked why Pitman wasn’t included in the match day squad in their win against Walsall and it was later revealed that he was allowing him to leave.

"We’re going to let Brett explore the market,” said the manager in his post-match press conference after a 1-0 win, securing their 13th point out of a possible 15.

"We had a chat with him during the week and I think, the way we want to be and what we want to do, it hasn’t quite worked out for him.

"It’s going to be difficult to give him opportunities now based on the players we’ve got at our disposal. "If you’ve had a career like Brett has had, you want to go out playing.

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“You don’t want to go out being 19th man and not playing on a matchday. "It’s different if you’re 20 and you’re developing, but not when you’re 33, so, I wanted to give him that opportunity.”

The 34-year-old’s playing opportunities have been limited this season with his last league start coming in November in the defeat to Forest Green Rovers.

In total, he has made 18 appearances across all competitions and has scored four goals, his last coming back in October in the defeat to Newport County. Pitman has made 16 league appearances but those have been shared equally with eight starts and eight substitute appearances, giving him a total game time of 845 minutes.

Ryan Loft’s arrival from Scunthorpe United, as well as the recent form of Aaron Collins has meant Pitman has had to take a place on the bench, whilst Harvey Saunders and Leon Clarke’s return to action has made his task even harder.

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At times, both Antony Evans and Sam Nicholson, who aren’t recognised strikers have been fancied up front rather than Pitman, who has been a forward throughout his career.

As well as an outgoing, there has also been a swift return to the Mem for goalkeeper Jed Ward, who had pitched up at Swindon Supermarine.

The non-league club say that Ward has been recalled because of an injury in the squad with both James Belshaw and Anssi Jakkola the first-team goalkeepers.

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