Benson keen to make own mark at Blues

Paul Benson made his Pompey debut in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers on Saturday Picture: Barry Zee
Paul Benson made his Pompey debut in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers on Saturday Picture: Barry Zee

Paul Benson reflected on his Pompey arrival and warned fans: I’m no straight replacement for Wes Thomas.

The 33-year-old made his Blues debut against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday after arriving on loan from Swindon.

Caretaker boss Guy Whittingham sees Benson as the ideal striking foil to bring out the best in Izale McLeod.

Pompey haven’t scored since Thomas returned to parent club Bournemouth five games ago, following a successful loan stint.

During their brief time together, he and McLeod netted nine goals in seven matches between them.

Coincidently, Benson regularly played with Thomas during the 2009-10 season at Dagenham & Redbridge.

Now Whittingham is hoping the experienced striker can get the goals flowing again, with the Blues next in action against Leyton Orient tonight.

But Benson knows he has a contrasting style to the player whose boots supporters are looking for him to fill.

He said: ‘I’ve played with Wes and I’m totally different to him.

‘We were at Dagenham & Redbridge for more or less a full season together. I know about Wes, I know how he did here and I know how good a player he is.

‘Back then I played up front with him and that worked really well because he was the short, quick guy and I’d win the headers and he would get on to them.

‘It’s unfortunate for Pompey that Bournemouth have called him back.

‘It was a classic big man, little man partnership and he would work off my flick-ons. I would hold it up and he would be the man to buzz around the box.

‘I’ve played against Izale a few times and always been on the wrong end of him scoring goals, so I know all about him.

‘He has a bit of pace about him.

‘Hopefully we can get something working with enough hours on the training ground and we’ll get to know each others’ games.

‘With Izale, he also likes to play high up the pitch on the last shoulder.

‘I try to come in a little deeper to get the ball and bring the wide men into play and hopefully we can get that going.

‘I only met him for the first time on Thursday and thought it worked quite well on Saturday, bringing the wide men into play and getting a lot of crosses in.

‘We just didn’t have anyone on the end of them and that is something we will work on on the training ground.

‘We need to get players getting into the right areas, starting tonight against Leyton Orient.’

Benson scored 12 goals in 26 games for Swindon last term as they secured promotion to League One.

This term his appearances have been restricted to just six league starts, scoring once.

Now the Blues have offered him an initial month of regular football in a bid to solve their own goalscoring crisis.

Benson has an outstanding record in the lower divisions of the Football League with Dagenham, Charlton and Swindon.

It’s a pedigree which Whittingham is banking on solving a goals crisis which is now in its 489th minute.

And Benson admitted he would consider remaining at Fratton Park should his time prove fruitful.

He added: ‘If the opportunity comes about to be able to extend the loan or try to make something permanent then that would be great.

‘But first of all I have got to prove that I am good enough to play for this club.

‘Hopefully I can get off the mark very soon.’