Released Bristol Rovers and former Bristol City striker in shock talks to join ninth-tier club

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Brett Pitman could be set to drop five divisions after entering talks with AFC Portchester

Former Bristol Rovers striker Brett Pitman could be set for a considerable drop down the divisions after leaving the club this summer.

Pitman was one of 13 players that weren’t kept on after the Gas’ promotion to League One as Joey Barton and his staff began to assemble a squad capable of playing in the third tier.

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The 34-year-old spent the second part of the campaign, where things started to improve for Rovers, at National League outfit Eastleigh, his first venture into semi-professional football.

Now according to the Portsmouth News, Pitman could face an even bigger challenge as Wessex Premier League outfit AFC Portchester have made an attempt to sign him following his departure from the Memorial Stadium.

They claim that Dave Carter, who is in charge of the team that sits in the ninth-tier of English football, below the likes of Bristol Manor Farm and Yate Town, has held talks with the experienced Football League forward.

A player-coach role has been spoken about which would fit in nicely with Pitman’s end-of-career plans after winding his career down by dropping down a few divisions.

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After moving to Eastleigh on loan, he began coaching at AFC Bournemouth’s academy, overseeing a number of training sessions at age grade teams.

Earlier this month, the former Bristol City striker expressed his desire to continue his playing career and so a move to a team by his nearby base on the South Coast may be the perfect opportunity.

He said: “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.”

Pitman scored four goals in 18 appearances for Rovers last season but injuries impacted his ability to start and at times, a non recognised striker partnership would be favoured by Joey Barton who would leave Pitman on the bench. His last appearance for the club ended up being an FA Cup defeat to Peterborough United back in January.

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He is not the only player once contraced to Bristol Rovers that have considered dropping down a few divisions to see out their careers.

Ed Upson, who was let go in the summer of 2021 and joined Newport County and later Paul Tisdale at Stevenage, has joined his local club Stowmarket.

Upson, who made more than 100 appearances for the Gas, was willing to drop four divisions to turn out for the Isthmian League North Division outfit.

Out of the other releases, Ollie Hulbert, who left without making a senior appearance but played under Lee Mansell at Gloucester City last season, has joined former development coach Chris Hargreaves at Yeovil Town.

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