Stevens and Bennett partnership can thrive

Kyle Bennett and Enda Stevens during their days at Doncaster Rovers together Picture: Andrew Roe
Kyle Bennett and Enda Stevens during their days at Doncaster Rovers together Picture: Andrew Roe
Joe Pigott celebrates Southend's winner against Pompey in League Two. Picture: Joe Pepler

Southend’s sterling record in November ahead of Pompey clash

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POMPEY can reap the rewards from reuniting Enda Stevens with former team-mate Kyle Bennett.

That is the verdict of Doncaster Free Press sports writer Paul Goodwin, who watched the pair in tandem last season.

Stevens made 32 appearances for Doncaster Rovers after arriving in a loan move from Aston Villa in November 2014.

Regularly operating on the left flank ahead of him was Bennett, who enjoyed his finest campaign yet for Rovers as they finished 13th in League One.

Now both have landed at Fratton Park for a Paul Cook era which has targeted a promotion push.

And Goodwin believes the pair can make an impact.

He said: ‘Enda should do well at that level. He is a steady operator who has it in his locker to get forward.

‘Kyle Bennett featured predominantly down that left side for Rovers last season and the pair of them linked up nicely.

‘In terms of that footballing understanding, they will have a head start at Pompey.

‘I believe they are good mates off the field as well, they mix in similar circles, which is also helpful for building up a relationship on the pitch.

‘Enda is a capable defender, but very much likes to get forward and work with the winger. His fitness is good and he has a good engine on him.

‘Overall, Enda is a reliable operator who didn’t make too many errors and slotted into the Rovers team nicely.

‘He came on loan from Aston Villa into a side conceding sloppy goals and helped shore things up at the back.

‘Doncaster’s previous left-back, Cedric Evina, had an absolute nightmare, so manager Paul Dickov needed somebody else in there.

‘Enda’s form dipped a little bit towards the end of the season when the whole team went off the boil in the last month.

‘But he was a regular six or seven out of 10 and didn’t have many really bad games.’

Stevens also had loan spells at Notts County and Northampton during his time at Villa.

And Goodwin expects some Rovers fans to be disappointed they didn’t snap him up.

He added: ‘It sounded like he wanted a fresh challenge.

‘But a few of the fans will be disappointed and will ask the question why he has dropped into League Two.

‘He reminds me a little bit of Ian Harte and will do well in that league.’