Bennett: Pompey life is more settled 12 months on

Pompey winger Kyle Bennett Picture: Neil Marshall
Pompey winger Kyle Bennett Picture: Neil Marshall
Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Kyle Bennett believes he can step up his game following that awkward settling-in period.

The winger registered 13 assists and netted seven goals during a maiden season on the south coast following his Doncaster switch.

I heard rumours about me putting in a transfer request and don’t know where that came from. I wouldn’t put one in – where am I going to go to!

Kyle Bennett

Often dividing fans in their opinion of his talents, nonetheless the 25-year-old can be considered a success story during Paul Cook’s first campaign in charge.

Bennett was among 14 recruits in the summer of 2015, with 14 also using the Fratton Park exit during a large-scale overhaul.

The new-look squad bonded sufficiently to finish sixth in League Two, as well as reach the semi-finals of the play-offs.

Now the bulk of those playing numbers are a year older and considerably more aware of Pompey demands.

And Bennett is convinced 12 months on can also benefit his own displays.

He said: ‘I have to do better this season and I feel I will.

‘I am settled at the club a lot more than 12 months ago, I now know the lads, we have that understanding.

‘It’s weird walking into a new club and hardly knowing anyone, it is difficult.

‘It can take a year to be well-accustomed to everyone and once you are ingrained in the team and everyone knows what type of character you are it becomes easier.

‘Suddenly you are not worried about coming to training, which some lads are at times.

‘Whether people like me or not like me, the football does become easier the longer you are at a club.

‘I heard rumours about me putting in a transfer request this summer and don’t know where that came from.

‘I wouldn’t put one in – where am I going to go to!

‘My wife and baby love it by the sea, I am really settled in the area and really like living down here.

‘Long may that continue.’

Bennett’s pre-season has been hampered by injury, allowing newcomer Milan Lalkovic a path into the team.

The Walsall arrival could find himself in the starting line-up against Carlisle on Saturday.

Regardless, Bennett is aware there needs to be improvements in the set-piece area of Pompey’s game plan.

He added: ‘We need to have a bit more of a presence from set-pieces and the manager has said that, I don’t think we scored enough from set-pieces last term.

‘In the first game of the season last year, Gaz Evans scored after a corner – but I think it took us a long time to net from another one.

‘Scoring goals remains the hardest part of the game. If you can do it you are classed as a hero and if you can’t you get stick, which is fair enough.’