Ex-Portsmouth youngster seeking Larne switch after heartbreak cancellation of Burnley, Wigan, Blackpool and QPR trials

A scheduled trial with Premier League Burnley was scrapped following the coronavirus outbreak.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 8:00 am
Stan Bridgman takes on Aldershot in a Pompey XI match in July 2019. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Now Stan Bridgman is seeking to drive forward with his football career by impressing at Northern Ireland side Larne.

The 19-year-old midfielder was released by Pompey last summer following eight years at Fratton Park.

He would suffer further setbacks, with trials lined-up at Burnley, QPR, Wigan and Blackpool cancelled amid uncertainty during the global pandemic.

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Bridgman, the older brother of recent Blues debutant Alfie, then joined Finnish tier three side Pallo-lirot, managed by his former Academy coach Scott Green.

However, since December he has been training with Irish top-flight side Larne.

And dad Glenn is hoping the youngster can earn himself a permanent deal with the NIFL Premiership side.

He told The News: ‘After Stan was released by Pompey, he had trials lined-up for Burnley, QPR, Blackpool and Wigan, but with coronavirus they were put on hold, before eventually knocked on the head.

Brothers Stan (left) and Alfie (right) Bridgman appeared in the same Pompey Academy side for their 5-1 FA Youth Cup win over Hereford in October 2019

‘He then went to Finland, signing a season-long pro contract, which was a great experience for him.

‘However, with eight weeks of the season remaining, he returned home after breaking his toe. He couldn’t do anything, so it made sense.

‘For the last two months, Stan has been trialing with Larne – and we’re waiting to see what happens.

‘With everything going on, he was back home for Christmas, before rejoining them, and their league starts again on Saturday.

Stan Bridgman (back, second right) was among a Pompey Academy intake which included Haji Mnoga (back, second left), Harry Kavanagh (back, third right) and Alfie Stanley (back, third left). Picture: Simon Hill/ Portsmouth FC

‘I spoke to them on Tuesday and, from what Stan’s agent has said, Larne’s chairman wants him to stay out there.

‘They like his ability, but he needs to improve on his mobility and match fitness following injury.

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‘Normally they would sign Stan until the end of the season, then loan him to a club in the division below to get games.

‘Unfortunately, there is no money coming into the club, which makes things really difficult at the moment with budgets.’

Former Purbrook Park School pupil Bridgman had joined the Blues at under-10 level.

He progressed through the ranks and in July 2019 was part of a Pompey XI side which lost 4-0 at Aldershot in a pre-season friendly.

Then, in June 2020, he joined former Academy team-mates Oscar Johnston, James Whiting and Joe Dandy at Pallo-lirot.

Glenn added: ‘Stan is a box-to-box midfielder, he can tackle, win the ball in the air, all of it, but his body size holds him back a little.

‘My wife’s side of the family are rugby players, her brother once played for Portsmouth – and Stan has that rugby player build, with legs like Roberto Carlos!

‘But he’s determined to give everything he’s got to progress in football.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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