Whittingham confident Benson goals will flow

Guy Whittingham has applauded the Pompey impact made by Paul Benson.

Thursday, 6th December 2012, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:05 pm

Now he is backing the striker to add goals to his all-round play.

The Blues’ caretaker boss brought Benson to Fratton Park last month to partner Izale McLeod.

The 33-year-old has subsequently started the past three matches, although has still to net a goal.

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Against Coventry City, the Swindon loanee was asked to serve as a central striker, with McLeod on the left flank.

And when Pompey’s leading scorer swooped in stoppage-time to equalise, Benson had already been substituted 27 minutes earlier.

Yet Whittingham insists he is pleased with the contribution of the former Dagenham & Redbridge forward.

And while he admits chances have been missed, he is confident Benson will rediscover his goal touch soon.

‘I’ve been very pleased with Paul’s contribution,’ he said.

‘I think all that is missing from his game is a goal.

‘He works hard, is a good target man and wins his share of headers.

‘He has a good work ethic in the game.

‘I like his versatility as well – he can play as a lone striker or play as a two.

‘We went as a 4-3-3 in the last game against Coventry with him down the middle.

‘You have to say he has had some chances.

‘And he will be the first to admit that perhaps he should have got off the mark for us by now.

‘I know he is disappointed he has not got one at least.

‘That part of his game is just not happening for him at the moment – but it will come.

‘Paul has a good work-rate – as he has shown since he got here – and is a proven player at this level.

‘His record proves he knows how to score goals and I am sure that will happen for us.

‘Hopefully he can open his account this weekend at Tranmere.’

Birmingham’s Jake Jervis followed Benson into Fratton Park.

And his arrival has created competition for striker places, a necessity which has been missing this season.

Whittingham finally has the luxury of options in attacking positions, as was seen in that 1-1 draw at the Ricoh Arena.

Benson made way in the 63rd minute for Jervis – as the Blues searched for an equaliser.

In the end, McLeod converted Adam Webster’s pass in the most dramatic of finales.

But Whittingham has made it clear Benson was not taken off for form reasons.

‘I’ve chatted to Paul and explained I didn’t bring him off against Coventry because he was playing poorly,’ said the caretaker boss.

‘It’s just that I wanted to get Jake a run and to give us something else.

‘Having been a striker, I can appreciate you want 20 to 25 minutes to really get into the game. It was nothing against Paul.’