Paul Cook explains Kyle Bennett Pompey selection call

Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler
Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey hero Svetoslav Todorov returns to Fratton Park on Saturday

Pompey favourite back at Fratton Park

  • Winger left out of a League Two starting line-up for the first time since joining Pompey
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Paul Cook has revealed that Kyle Bennett will go straight back into the Pompey side this weekend.

The 25-year-old was left out of a League Two starting line-up for the first time in his Blues career as the manager switched to a 4-4-2 formation for the weekend’s goalless draw with Wimbledon.

Bennett needed to have a rest

Paul Cook

Bennett has yet to win over all the Pompey fans this season and insisted in The News last week that the recent negativity directed towards him by some of the club’s fans will not affect him.

Instead, the former Doncaster man will continue to try to add attacking flair and certainly added extra creativity when he replaced Adam McGurk as a 66th-minute substitute on Sunday.

Cook declined to get involved in the discussion over the reaction of some supporters towards his player.

But after resting Bennett for the draw with the Dons, the Blues boss looks set to hand him an instant recall him for Saturday’s trip to Carlisle.

‘Bennett needed to have a rest,’ said Cook.

‘But he will come back into the team next week.

‘He reacted well to not being in the team and showed a good attitude. He’s been fantastic around the place.

‘I stand by him and all of our players.

‘He needed a rest but will go right back into our team in a blink of an eye.’

Whether Bennett’s omission was down to fatigue, Cook’s surprise switch in formation, or simply to take him out of the firing line, is open to question.

But the manager is still searching for the right balance to his side, especially at Fratton Park.

Cook said: ‘I won’t go too far away from my beliefs in the game.

‘Every game will offer a different opportunity in terms of systems and formations.

‘We are trying to tinker with it, rather than radically change it, and we are still a new team learning our way.

‘We are still struggling to just get that right formula.

‘Of course, we all want our home form to improve. Can we be a bit brighter about what we do? Of course we can.

‘We haven’t won enough home games and nobody is hiding from that fact.’

Cook, however, clearly still has some long-held reservations about the traditional 4-4-2 system.

He added: ‘If you want to speak about 4-4-2 and who is successful at it, I will listen.

‘If you look at our success as a club playing two up front, it has been nil.

‘We’ve had lads scoring goals. But you will also concede them at the other end.

‘That’s what happens when you play that formation.

‘Everyone can dress formations up, but it’s nothing to do with formations.

‘Against Notts County, we played really well with one up front. We had more chances than we have had in any other game and got beaten because of two sloppy set-pieces.’