Whittingham lifts lid on Benjani return

10/1/2013 (SPORT)''Portsmouth FC training at Wellington Sports Ground in Eastleigh on Thursday morning.''Pictured is: Benjani during training.''Picture: Sarah Standing (1372-1354)
10/1/2013 (SPORT)''Portsmouth FC training at Wellington Sports Ground in Eastleigh on Thursday morning.''Pictured is: Benjani during training.''Picture: Sarah Standing (1372-1354)
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Benjani can be a help to Pompey but will not be signing for the club.

That’s the verdict of Guy Whittingham after he welcomed the striker back to the club for training last week.

The Fratton favourite was a surprise face at the club’s Eastleigh training on Thursday.

Benjani’s comeback has sparked speculation he could be set to sign for a third stint with the side he has made 95 appearances for.

But caretaker boss Guy Whittingham has shot down any idea of a move for the man who signed for £4.4m from Auxerre in 2006.

Whittingham believes Benjani could still have a big role to play for Pompey in the coming weeks, however.

He feels the hitman has a part to play in helping develop young strikers at the club.

Benjani’s vibrant personality around the playing staff is also a big attraction for the Pompey boss.

He said: ‘Benjani is a great character.

‘He’s a guy who’s always got a smile on his face and he’s someone a young player, like Dan Thompson, could learn a heck of a lot from.

‘Benji’s over here on a break and has asked to train with us to keep himself fit.

‘That’s plain and simple. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

‘If someone of his ilk can pass something on to our centre-forwards I’m all for it.

‘It will probably be just a couple of weeks and that’s it.

‘There’s not a chance of anything happening beyond that.

‘I don’t think anyone could help but learn from his enthusiasm and presence.

‘He’d not done anything for three or four weeks and came in and took a full part in the training session.

‘We had too many people so he dropped out and went and did some stuff with Chris Neville, our fitness coach.

‘If some of his character can rub off on the other lads it can only be good for him.

‘He has enthusiasm and always has a smile on his face.’

Benjani has been without a club since leaving Pompey at the end of last season.

Deals at a couple of African outfits were mooted but no agreement was made.

South African outfit Supersport were close to landing the striker but it did not materialise.

The former Manchester City striker was brought back to Pompey for a second stint at the club by Steve Cotterill in 2011 after leaving Blackburn.

He made just six starts in that stint scoring a single goal before leaving at the end of the season.

A lot has changed in the short time he has been away from Pompey

Whittingham explained the striker was shocked by the turnover in staff.

He said:‘When he came over he asked who’s left from when he was here?

‘I said Ricardo was still here and he asked who else? I told him that’s it and he kept saying “there must be someone else”.

‘He couldn’t believe it!

‘Even he didn’t realise the scale of what’s been going on here.’