Kyle Bennett is ready for his Pompey left-wing competition

Kyle Bennett is ready to fight off the left-wing threat delivered by newcomer Milan Lalkovic.

Thursday, 21st July 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:33 pm
Kyle Bennett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook has ushered in greater squad competition during a summer of recruitment.

In attacking and central defensive positions, especially, the rivalry has been cranked up considerably.

Bennett finds himself pitched against a former Doncaster Rovers team-mate eager for the spot he held last term.

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Left-winger Lalkovic last month arrived from League One Walsall, where he was a popular figure in the side which reached the play-offs.

He needs no introduction to Bennett, a Keepmoat Stadium playing colleague during a three-month loan spell from Chelsea in 2011.

And the man under the microscope is relishing seeing off this latest Fratton Park challenge.

Bennett said: ‘Looking at the signings made, we have covered every base in the attacking positions.

‘I played with Milan at Doncaster. He’s a great little player, very direct, runs at people, scares the life out of them and is a great addition to the squad.

‘Carl Baker has experience and is another very good player.

‘No disrespect but they are Championship or League One signings, so the more the merrier.

‘It is competition for places and keeps people hungry.

‘Milan and Carl have come in for Adam McGurk and Kal Naismith and that is how it works.

‘At Doncaster, Milan was used more of a striker and a number 10. I think he has now settled on his position which is left-wing – unfortunately that is also mine!

‘Everyone is a rival for your position.

‘Carl Baker tends to play on the right as a number 10 but if I am out of form and not doing well I am sure he can come on to the left and do well.

‘Some people might say competition makes you play better but for me I do the best I can regardless of whether you have pressure or not.

‘The pressure comes from your manager and the fans anyway. What more pressure can you add to that?’

Lalkovic made six appearances for Doncaster during a loan spell which yielded his Football League debut.

Yet intriguingly they never started a match together during that period at the Championship club.

Bennett added: ‘Milan is pretty different to me, a lot more direct, whereas I like to get involved a bit more.

‘You are going to get different types of attacking players and that can be hard for defenders to deal with.

‘They play against a certain type of player for 70 or 80 minutes, becoming accustomed to it, then someone else comes on and can give something different.

‘I am sure whoever gets picked will do their best.

‘If not then the other can come on and change it.’