Pompey boss praise for new-found goalscorer

It's now goals in consecutive games for a surprisingly free-scoring Kyle Bennett.

Tuesday, 14th March 2017, 9:30 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:12 am
Kyle Bennett celebrates scoring against Colchester on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

No wonder Paul Cook is bubbling.

‘He’s got two in a week, I’ve never before seen him get two in a week during the last two years,’ said Pompey’s boss.

‘The chances of him scoring tonight against Grimsby are nil!’

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Cook may joke, yet it’s a crucial missing ingredient he believes has hampered the winger’s progress higher up the leagues.

Bennett has netted 10 times in 86 Blues appearances, including a memorable double on his August 2015 debut against Dagenham & Redbridge.

But until his glorious strike at Crawley, he had registered just one during the current campaign.

That was followed up with another, this time at Colchester during Saturday’s thumping Pompey victory which consisted of four different scorers.

Next up are Grimsby at Fratton Park tonight (7.45pm) – and all eyes will once again be on the scoring boots of the former Doncaster player.

Cook said: ‘Kyle is a smashing player, if he could add goals to his game then he would be comfortably playing in a lot higher division.

‘It’s about him getting into the box more, but he’s still a fantastic midfielder.

‘I’ve always had faith in him, that is why, if you look at my team selections in general, Kyle is always in them.

‘Whether he is playing well or not is irrelevant to me, it’s the same as the Eoin Doyle debate, why would you debate good players? These lads are good players.

‘At these levels, the Kyle Bennetts are as good as it gets, they really are. They are absolutely top-class players and sometimes don’t get appreciated as much as they should.

‘Kyle is the same as Eoin Doyle. In my opinion, teams consistently selecting these lads will be successful.

‘He always plays well in big games. Teams will work out how to stop him and when they come to Fratton Park double up on that side with Enda (Stevens)and have an extra man back.

‘It’s hard for him, it doesn’t come easy and can be tough on him.

‘He’s a very popular lad at the club. Sometimes fans don’t see that, but he has settled really well into the area.

‘For me, as manager, he is a pleasure to be around.’

Irrespective of the recent flurry of goals, Bennett has been one of the Blues’ most consistent performers of late.

There can generally be an inconsistency among the Fratton Park players, yet the 26-year-old has been a reliable presence during the past few months.

That includes an outstanding opening 45 minutes against Morecambe, while Bennett was one of the few who could be spared the scathing criticism following the home loss to Crewe.

There have been times when sections of the Fratton faithful have clambered on the winger’s back, but Cook remains delighted with his input.

He added: ‘Kyle has done well, they all have.

‘I am not going to individualise players, it’s very much a squad game, and one of the things we do here is get high on players too quickly – and certainly get on people’s backs far too quickly for my liking.’