Experienced striker Brett Pitman says he wants to prolong his 17-year playing career after being released by Bristol Rovers.
The 34-year-old was one of the 13 players that weren’t kept on by the Gas after their promotion to League One with another busy summer in store for the club.
Pitman was a first-teamer for the first part of the campaign but struggled with injuries during his time at the Memorial Stadium and was shipped out on loan to Eastleigh in February.
The loan to the Spitfires, the first time he has played in the non-league in his career, opened an opportunity for him to coach with AFC Bournemouth.
His son is part of the academy setup there and whilst playing in the National League, he would undertake some training sessions with the Cherries’ youth teams.
Despite one eye on the future from when he hangs his boots up, there is still a burning desire to extend a playing career that started in 2005 with the newly promoted Premier League team.
Asked about his plans for the future on the official AFC Bournemouth podcast, he responded: I’m not entirely sure to be honest.
“I definitely want to carry on playing. I think I still enjoy training, I enjoy the games. I still think that I have a lot of goals to score. We’ll see what happens.
‘Probably since the end of January really when I left Bristol and went to Eastleigh. One of the first phone calls I made was to Joe (Roach, Bournemouth’s head of academy) and said look I want to get involved in coaching. It’s something I want to get involved in to the future, can I come in and help?
“He said yeah, being there every night with my boy anyway, I was there watching. I’m helping, I’ve had a look at all the age groups and did a week with each.
“For the last two months I’ve been with the under-12’s, I’ve really enjoyed it more than I thought I would.”
Pitman was somewhat of a shock signing when announced last summer as part of Joey Barton’s rebuild given his previous involvement with Bristol City.
The experienced Football League forward had spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Robins but put that behind him in the hope of leading the Gas’ front line.
After scoring in pre-season, he suffered an injury which kept him sidelined and he was forced to take his place on the bench.
A goal game against Leyton orient early on and then he went on a three-game scoring spree against Bradford City, Colchester United and Newport County but he was unable to prolong that form.
Despite being the only-out-and-out striker available at the club, makeshift forwards Antony Evans and Sam Nicholson were preferred in his place which put the writing on the wall for him.
Reflecting on his time with the club after signing in July, he said: ‘I was excited to sign for Bristol Rovers and work with the manager.
“The last game of pre-season was my first game and I came on and scored two. I was kind of looking forward to it and I was excited. There was a bit of excitement.
“The Monday morning after that I got the most random injury. I ruptured my plantaris tendon which I had never even heard of. It’s something at the bottom of your foot.
It put me back for like a month, I was training but I was running and just training on my own. I put myself forward to play but I wasn’t really fit and that set me back a bit.
“I got into the team, scored three in a week in three games and in the fourth game, I pulled my groin in the warm-up shooting. That was kind of it for me. I was never back in properly.
“It got to January and it was kind of a joint decision. I said look I want to play and I was travelling and still in Bournemouth. Going to Bristol and staying there two to three times a week which is fine if you’re playing, if you’re not it gets difficult.”
As mentioned, there was a two-and-a-half-year spell at Ashton Gate with City and the three-time promotion winner was complimentary of the city he has had the privilege of playing for two of their football clubs.
‘I really enjoyed it. It’s a good club and Bristol is a great city,” he said.
“I didn’t play week-in-week-out. I’m always someone who needs to play week-in-week-out and that is when you get the best out of me.
“Playing the odd game or coming on every odd game and not playing is tough as you can’t get any momentum. As a forward that’s difficult, you need to play in week-in-week-out.
“I actually had to go in and ask Derek McInnes who I had a good relationship with and said can you let me go? I’m not really playing here and I want to go back to Bournemouth. It happened pretty quickly after that.