From Portsmouth exile to trophy-winning captain – Brett Pitman on how he never lost faith
Trophy-winning skipper Brett Pitman insists he never lost hope of ending his first-team exile.
The 31-year-old was an unused substitute when Pompey booked their Checkatrade Trophy final presence following victory at Bury.
Yet, four weeks later at Wembley, he held the cup aloft as Blues captain having featured for the entire 120 minutes.
It capped an impressive resurgence from Pitman, who in February found himself axed from five of Pompey’s seven match-day squads.
However, an eye-catching 15-minute cameo from the bench in defeat at Charlton reignited his season.
Restoration to Kenny Jackett’s starting XI in a number 10 role has coincided with four successive victories, including Sunday’s triumph over Sunderland.
And Pitman is adamant his faith never wavered.
He said: ‘I always believed – and it was before the Bury game when it was starting to turn around.
‘I thought I was moving closer and closer towards getting back in, I could feel it in training, I was training well.
‘When you are training well and working hard, it’s only a matter of time before you get a chance.
‘I had belief. I know what I can bring to the team and what I can bring to the squad. There was one of two ways I could go – and I went the hard-work way. Fortunately I then had a chance to get back in.
‘We went to Swindon in the reserves and there’s no point going all that way not to try. I was always going to try to show the manager what I could do. After that was Charlton.
‘The gaffer knows what I can do, I have been around long enough, he knows what I am capable of.
‘It's nice to be back out playing, that’s also my favoured position, so I have enjoyed it.’
Pitman has scored twice in four matches since starting in the number 10 role.
It’s a position he relishes, pointing to an impressive Bournemouth goal-scoring record while operating behind a central striker.
And he’s convinced it brings out the best of his talents.
Pitman added: ‘That is where I played for my whole career at Bournemouth.
‘I operated behind Steve Fletcher, behind Callum Wilson, behind Lewis Grabban.
‘When I moved to Portsmouth, I started the first few games behind Conor Chaplin and Kal Naismith. Then Hawks (Oli Hawkins) came in and I was up front after that.
‘I think I’m more effective in that role. I don’t mind playing up front, but if I had a preference it would be where I’m playing at the moment.’