Pompey boss urges Bennett to keep the faith

Kyle Bennett created several chances but couldn't take them. Picture: Joe Pepler

KENNY JACKETT has urged Kyle Bennett not to lose belief following his Bradford blank.

The attacker missed at least three golden goal-scoring opportunities as a wasteful Pompey were made to pay for their profligacy.

Kyle showed fantastic awareness and athleticism to get into those positions, which he has to be encouraged by

Kenny Jackett

The Bantams snatched victory in the 80th minute when the unmarked Matt Kilgallon headed home Tony McMahon’s free-kick.

It was a third-successive defeat barely deserved having been the dominant side for the majority of the fixture.

Certainly Bennett, operating in the number 10 role behind the recalled Brett Pitman, had enough chances to register.

Yet on each occasion the 27-year-old failed to hit the target, the closest involving firing into the side netting after rounding Colin Doyle.

Regardless, Bennett earned warm applause when substituted in the 67th minute following a good all-round performance.

And his manager is seeking for the ex-Bradford loanee to put matters right next time.

Jackett said: ‘Kyle was a bit down afterwards. We spoke and he was saying along the lines he had to finish the chances that he’d had.

‘I don’t think there is anybody else that would have got there in the athletic way that he did and almost created some chances out of nothing.

‘There was one at the end of the first half where he ran 60 yards to get on the far post. He possibly could have taken a touch, but took it first time.

‘For the one at the start of the second half, he has intercepted a ball back to the goalkeeper, gone around him and hit the side netting.

‘But he showed fantastic awareness and athleticism to get into those positions, which he has to be encouraged by.

‘Kyle’s got to keep working at it, keep getting into those positions, he caused their centre-halves lots of problems and got a very good round of applause when he came off.

‘That was an appreciation of the effort and contribution he brings, not just creating chances but linking attack to defence, which is something at times this season I don’t think we’ve been great at.’

Jackett had opted to pair Bennett with Pitman for the first time on Saturday.

With leading scorer Pitman recalled, Oli Hawkins made way to allow the duo to serve attacking duties together.

Jackett added: ‘Kyle’s had a run in the number 10 position now, quite a good run, and I played him there again Saturday.

‘It is the first time I have tried Pitman and Bennett together, they are our two most experienced forwards, both have good experience and higher than League One, which not many of our players have.

‘They were an experienced pairing at times and, early in the game, it looked like that.

‘It looked a good combination and they do combine well in training.

‘It’s the first time we’ve tried them and there were a lot of positives – but ultimately some frustration because those guys are looking to score the goals.’

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