Brett Pitman’s first words since Bristol Rovers exit as he explains Eastleigh move

Brett Pitman said moving back closer to home played a key role in him departing Bristol Rovers on loan for Eastleigh.
Joining a club closer to his Bournemouth home was a factor in his Eastleigh move. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)Joining a club closer to his Bournemouth home was a factor in his Eastleigh move. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Joining a club closer to his Bournemouth home was a factor in his Eastleigh move. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The 34-year-old’s departure from the Memorial Stadium was yesterday announced with the forward dropping down a division to the National League.

Pitman had been commuting from Bournemouth where he currently resides to train and play at Bristol Rovers, which became a gruelling task after finding himself out of the side.

He found himself out of favour though, not starting a game since November and without a goal since October and following the arrival of Ryan Loft and the form of Aaron Collins, his playing opportunities were limited.

Asked whether moving back to the South Coast played a part in his latest move, he said: “I live in Bournemouth with two kids in school, it was at times difficult to be in Bristol three or four nights a week,” he said to Eastleigh FC.

“You kind of put it to one side if you are playing but the fact I wasn’t playing that much and the manager was open and honest and said he wasn’t sure how much game time I would get now until the end of the season, that was a massive factor in the decision.”

The transfer first transpired when discussions were had between Pitman and Barton about his football career potentially winding down elsewhere.

Talks were held between the pair at Scunthorpe United and later in the week it was decided that he would be moved on.

The Spitfire’s interest in him started towards the end of that week and ultimately negotiations went so well that a move took place.

As Eastleigh are not bound by a January transfer window there wasn’t a rush to get Pitman signed on Deadline Day, though talks did quickly progress from there.

Pitman said: “I’m happy to get it signed, it came off quite quickly to be honest. It was an opportunity to come here and play some games and enjoy football at this stage in my career and score some goals.

“On Thursday Bristol Rovers said to me if there is something I want to do in terms of playing more, it was available. It happened a little bit on the weekend but more on Monday.”

This is the first time in his 17-year playing career that he has dropped into semi-professional football as for the majority of his playing days he has played in the lower levels with the likes of Bournemouth and Portsmouth.

Pitman had also spent time with Rovers’ rivals Bristol City and spent three years there, scoring 21 goals in 80 appearances across three seasons in the Championship.

Last season he played for Swindon Town and played 37 times, scoring 11 goals in League One but despite his best efforts, his goals were unable to keep them up and he was relegated and he later joined Bristol Rovers.

He joins a team that are currently 15th in the fifth tier of English football and are currently fighting for survival with six points separating them and the drop.

“I’ve not seen a great deal of it, I’ve been to some games over the years,” said Pitman on his experience of the National League.

“I’ve played teams in the FA Cup but I haven’t got a huge knowledge of it. It’s a decent league and it’s something I’m excited to see and be a part of.”