Kyle Bennett: The secret behind Pompey’s scoring success

Robbie Blake. Picture: Joe Pepler
Robbie Blake. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Pompey have scored 42 goals this season – more than any other League Two side
  • There have been 13 difference goalscorers in all competitions

No side in League Two can better Pompey’s 42-goal haul this season.

And Kyle Bennett credits the impressive return down to the presence of a former team-mate.

Robbie is trying to help and give us that little bit more confidence in the finish and I would say it has definitely worked

Kyle Bennett

Robbie Blake has been a member of Paul Cook’s backroom staff since September, with a coaching remit including working with the strikers.

The 39-year-old carved a goal-laden career out as a forward at Bradford City, Burnley and Leeds United, featuring in the Premier League.

Blake’s final Football League club was Doncaster Rovers, where he spent the majority of the 2012-13 campaign as a team-mate of Bennett.

Now both are part of the Fratton Park set-up for a club which finds itself fourth in the table challenging for promotion.

Bennett himself was among the goals for only the second match this season when he stroked home Pompey’s first in last weekend’s 2-2 FA Cup draw at Ipswich Town.

And the 25-year-old is full of praise for the striking impact of his ex-playing colleague.

He said: ‘I played with Robbie at Doncaster for a year, so I know all about him.

‘He is an unbelievable finisher and since coming here as coach he’s brought his knowhow into the football club.

‘I’ve been working with him on my finishing, as have Conor Chaplin, Marc McNulty, Adam McGurk and Gary Roberts and I believe the difference has been massive.

‘It’s about getting that little bit of composure in the final third because sometimes you snatch at things or take one touch too many – or even one touch too few.

‘Robbie is trying to help and give us that little bit more confidence in the finish and I would say it has definitely worked.

‘He has been there and done it, done it in the Premier League, done it in the Championship, done it all his career, so it’s great to listen.

‘It’s important we don’t damage our legs and we need our recovery, so we are restricted to extra training with him on a Tuesday and maybe a Thursday.

‘And you can tell it is working.’

Blake enjoyed a prolific stay at Burnley in particular, where he scored 72 goals in 282 games – spanning two periods.

He also netted the Clarets’ winner against Manchester United in a Premier League encounter in August 2009.

Although Burnley didn’t get any joy out of Pompey during that campaign, losing both fixtures for what was the Blues’ last in the top flight.

Blake left Doncaster in March 2013 following one goal in 14 appearances.

And Bennett regards the Middlesbrough-born coach as one of the finest finishers he has seen.

He added: ‘He was unbelievable as a player, he just couldn’t move!

‘Still, his technical ability was superb, in training I would probably say he was one of the best finishers I have ever seen.

‘We used to do finishing practice when someone would chip the ball to us and we used to try a side volley – and he would never miss.

‘He is trying to improve us now but I don’t know if he will succeed in making us as good as he was!’