Cook: I’ve always had faith in Pompey’s man-of-the-moment

Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler

Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler

  • Kyle Bennett has 13 assists and seven goals for Pompey this season
  • Winger has scored four goals in the Blues’ last six matches
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Pompey will unleash man-of-the-moment Kyle Bennett with instructions to demolish Plymouth.

And Paul Cook insists his faith has never wavered in a player often questioned by sections of the Fratton faithful.

Benno is a very popular member of the dressing room and his talent is beyond question

Paul Cook

Bennett has been directly involved in 20 of the Blues’ goals this season, with 13 assists and seven goals.

At Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend he weighed in with two assists and took his recent scoring form to four in six games.

Although hampered by inconsistency, there is no doubting the winger has raised his game at a time when Pompey need him most.

And Cook will again look to Bennett as his inspiration in tomorrow’s crucial clash with Plymouth (3pm).

‘He’s just Kyle, the player we all knew he was when brought to the club,’ said Cook.

‘We feel he has not only the natural ability but also the temperament to be able to handle being a Portsmouth player.

‘He started the season very well, and when you do as well as he did against Dagenham on the opening day of the season it is always going to be difficult to maintain that.

‘That was a special day, not just for the club but for Benno.

‘At times he has shouldered that and it has been tough for him.

‘But at the minute he is in a really good place and it shows our supporters you must persevere with players you believe in, you can’t play well every week.

‘Benno is a very popular member of the dressing room and his talent is beyond question.

‘What Kyle has got to do is keep doing his best to affect games – and when he does it normally means we win.

‘He has missed fewer than five training sessions all season, which is unbelievable because every knock he has taken he has carried on.

‘Like some players on Saturday night, Kyle will probably get booed off if we don’t do well, but he’s a quality player and we have great belief in him.

‘I stay with players a lot longer than probably most managers because I believe in them and I know what continuous change does to a team.’

Tomorrow represents the Blues’ biggest match of the season as they attempt to bolster their promotion chances.

And once again Bennett could be a key figure.

Cook added: ‘The majority of teams have set up to stop us playing. That normally means preventing your flair players getting on the ball.

‘So Kyle has suffered more than anyone in terms of League Two games.

‘When you have gone to Ipswich away in the FA Cup, though, with respect to Mick McCarthy, they didn’t set up to stop us playing – they set up to beat us.

‘We are not going to stop how other teams set up, it is their job to do that. But we feel, in games more open, Kyle will have a massive impact.’