Pompey striker happy to go it alone

Benjani. Picture: Barry Zee
Benjani. Picture: Barry Zee
Dion Donohue. Picture: Joe Pepler

Donohue backed to be Pompey attacking asset

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Benjani shrugged off suggestions he would benefit from an orthodox strike partner and declared: I’m happy to play in any formation.

The Zimbabwean striker netted his first goal for the club since his return to Fratton Park in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat to Peterborough.

Steve Cotterill has predominantly used the ex-Manchester City man as a central striker in his preferred 4-3-3-cum-4-5-1 system.

Some sections of supporters are keen to see the introduction of a second out-and-out striker to play alongside him.

But – ahead of tomorrow’s Championship trip to Leeds United – Benjani has insisted he is happy to play in any system that suits the rest of the team.

He said: ‘It depends how we play when we play that system.

‘We had a lot of chances with the formation against Peterborough but we didn’t take them.

‘If we play that system, it’s not about myself – it’s about everything within the team.

‘We’re all into it but we have to work to a better situation for the team.’

If a striker is getting plenty of opportunities to score, it’s unlikely he will have any problem with the formation.

And it’s worth remembering that during the final season of his previous spell with Pompey – when he had scored 12 goals before his January move – Benjani often played in a similar formation as the lone striker, with John Utaka and Niko Kranjcar in the wide positions.

But the 33-year-old has not seen a host of goalscoring chances come his way since his return.

And he netted his only real opportunity when tucking home Erik Huseklepp’s cross on Tuesday – after Cotterill changed his team’s shape to counter Peterborough’s diamond midfield.

Benjani said: ‘If we have a lot of service in the team for the strikers, it’s always enjoyable.

‘I was happy to score and it hasn’t taken me as long to do it this time.

‘I knew if I kept on working hard, the goals would come.

‘And if I get chances, I will score.’

After three appearances as a substitute, the Peterborough clash was Benjani’s fourth consecutive start as he continues to look sharper with more games under his belt.

And Benjani believes the Blues need to be more ruthless in front of goal after spurning a number of chances.

He said: ‘I think we have learned from that game.

‘Unfortunately, we didn’t take our chances.

‘If you get a chance, you need to capitalise. But it didn’t happen that way and they came out on top of us.

‘It’s a tough one up at Leeds but we will be mentally prepared for that game.

‘Hopefully, we will play well – like we did against Peterborough – and get a bit more luck and win.

‘It’s not easy. We had a hard week and have worked very hard but sometimes you just need a bit of luck as well.’