Aldershot Town have sold star striker Josh Stokes to Championship side Bristol City for an undisclosed club record fee in a deal that will see him remain with the Shots for the rest of the season.
The 19-year-old’s transfer became the club’s record sale even before any future add-ons were taken into consideration.
As well as allowing Stokes to stay at the EBB Stadium as part of the Shots’ bid to reach the playoffs, the terms include the Robins bringing their first team to Aldershot for a pre-season friendly prior to the 2024-25 campaign.
Stokes joined Aldershot from AFC Sudbury last June for an undisclosed fee, but quickly adapted to life in the Vanarama National League and has scored 13 goals in 27 league games.
He also contributed to an impressive Emirates FA Cup run with goals against League Two sides Swindon Town and Stockport County as Aldershot reached the third round.
Manager Tommy Widdrington said: “It’s come as no surprise to any of us staff that Josh and others have attracted so much interest considering the season he and we’ve had so far.
“It should also come as a stark reminder of what’s possible to any player who’s faced disappointment at any stage of a fledgling career and act as a motivation to keep at it and believe in yourself.
“There were lots of clubs at all levels keen to acquire Josh’s services, but I think Bristol City is a great fit for all parties to continue his football journey.
“Josh will of course remain here at the EBB as a committed Shot for the rest of this season and I’m sure will continue to help us to continue to progress too.
“I have to thank Brian Tinnion, the technical director at Bristol City, for the professional manner in which they approached and sorted everything with the minimum of fuss for this to happen, along with Josh’s parents Mark and Donna who trusted Aldershot Town and I to help Josh continue his football journey - something I believe could be special.
“We of course wish Josh all the success possible when he does make the move, but for now we and he are fully focused on our aims here at Aldershot Town.”