Jackett urges Bennett to raise his Pompey game

Kyle Bennett has been instructed to up his productivity as he returns to Pompey's squad.

Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 7:01 am
Pompey forward Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey forward Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler

Kenny Jackett has revealed the out-of-favour winger is back in the frame for tonight’s visit of Bristol Rovers to Fratton Park (7.45pm).

Bennett has been excluded from the match-day 18 for the Blues’ previous two games – while making just one substitute outing in the past five fixtures.

The ongoing absence of a player integral to the League Two title-winning side has inevitably been questioned by supporters.

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Still, Bennett must re-establish himself under a new man at the helm, irrespective of previous successes.

And Jackett is looking for more from the 27-year-old, who has amassed 102 appearances and 13 goals for Pompey.

The manager said: ‘Kyle must keep working hard in training and, above all, when he gets his chance take it and keep the shirt.

‘At times he has lacked some end product. It’s not something I haven’t said to him, he is aware of that and is determined to put that right.

‘At times you need an end product – goals and assists.

‘It’s not something I would like to single out Kyle for, it is something which is a big part of that position.

‘You could sometimes look at Jamal (Lowe) and it is similar.

‘You get into good positions and it is not as easy as that – but in the end, for those 7, 10 and 11 positions, it is about goals and assists.’

It represents an unusual scenario for Bennett, who had previously been a regular under Paul Cook following his arrival in the summer of 2015.

He scored five goals in his final 11 appearances of last season to drive the Blues to the title.

That included netting in four successive games, while Bennett also registered in the memorable final-day thumping of Cheltenham.

The player signed a new three-year deal at Fratton Park in the summer – before Cook’s departure to Wigan.

He started the opening three matches of the Jackett regime, but has since made just one line-up.

The winger’s most recent start came, ironically, against his former boss during last month’s 1-1 draw at the Latics.

Matty Kennedy has instead served on the left following his loan arrival from Cardiff.

And with six wide attacking options, Jackett admitted, competition is fierce.

He added: ‘We’ve had some success out of Lowe, we’ve had some success out of Kennedy in the early stages.

‘We also have Gareth Evans, who is a player I have a lot of time for.

‘Kal Naismith is quite a variable player but can come in either centre-forward or in a wide area and is an effective substitute.

‘Lalkovic is still out injured and there is also Bennett.

‘They are our options and, as a manager, you want to produce a competitive environment in which people work hard and are hungry to keep the shirt.’