Former Bristol City and Bristol Rovers man drops down five divisions to join non-league club

It’s another non-league move for one of the 13 players that weren’t kept on by Bristol Rovers

<p>Joining a club closer to his Bournemouth home was a factor in his Eastleigh move. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)</p>

Joining a club closer to his Bournemouth home was a factor in his Eastleigh move. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Brett Pitman has made non-league outfit AFC Portchester his latest club after his release from Bristol Rovers.

Pitman was one of 13 players released by the Gas this summer having chosen not to extend his contract as they prepared for life in League One.

The 34-year-old had been in talks with the club that is nearby to Portsmouth, one of his former teams, and they have now persuaded him to make just his second venture into on-league football.

“I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously for me it is something a little bit different coming out of full time football but I’m really looking forward to it,” he said to Portchester’s official club website.

“It’s a really good set up here. I’m looking forward to getting started and hopefully having a successful year.

“It’s going to be different to what I’m used to but it is something I’m looking forward to and at this stage of my career it enables me to do some coaching as well, which is something I’m really looking forward to doing.”

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“I’ve had a good chat with the manager and the club want to win the league so I think that’s the aim - obviously it’s going to be difficult. “On a personal level hopefully I can bring some experience and score a few goals.”

Up until 2022, Pitman had played his entire career in the Football League, turning out mainly for Bournemouth. He also had spells at Bristol City, Ipswich Town and Swindon too.

After his departure from Swindon he joined Rovers on a one-year contract and scored four goals in 18 appearances.

He was shipped out on loan to National League outfit Eastleigh in January, his first time outside of professional football, which has now prepared him for the transition of the end of his career.

Pitman has already begun coaching and during his loan spell, oversaw a few training sessions with the academy at Bournemouth.

The Jersey-born forward though has not yet hung up the boots and will ply his trade in the Wessex League Premier Division, which is the ninth tier of English football.

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Another player that has found a club this week is Cameron Hargreaves. It was announced earlier this week that Hargreaves had reunited with former director of football Tommy Widdrington.

He spent time on loan at The Walks last season and has now penned a permanent deal, where he reunites with Zain Walker, who left the club in January.

The 23-year-old left the Memorial Stadium having made 19 appearances in total, mainly coming in the 2020/21 campaign where the club were relegated.

"We are delighted that Cameron Hargreaves has agreed a one-year deal with the club with a further one-year option,” Widdrington said to the Lynn News.

“I genuinely believe it’s a real coup for us to achieve this as Cameron would have had plenty of suitors, having simply been a casualty of mass changes in policy at his previous club.”

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Released defender Cian Harries meanwhile has remained in the Football League and has made the move across the west Country to League Two play-off semi-finalists Swindon Town.