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Football: Killick confident of keeping Gosport loan star Bennett at Poole
TOM Killick has revealed loan star Justin Bennett could extend his stint at Poole Town for another month – despite the lure of a potential Wembley final.
Bennett’s initial month at Tatnam expires after Saturday’s home clash with Corby Town (3pm), a match which takes place while his parent club Gosport Borough vie for a place in the FA Trophy final.
Borough, managed by Wimborne Town’s Wembley-winning boss Alex Pike, host Hampshire rivals Havant & Waterlooville in the second leg with the tie delicately poised at 1-1.
Dolphins manager Killick remained confident over snaring the savvy striker either way but admitted Bennett’s decision could be swayed by the result at Privett Park.
On the hitman’s future, Killick told the Daily Echo: “Justin is very keen to stay but he is understandably mindful of the prospect of Gosport playing at Wembley.
“Naturally, if he feels he has a chance of being involved there he would want to be and that is his dilemma, but, at the moment, his indication is that he will stay with us.
“Gosport have indicated, in principle, that they would be happy with it and I have to thank Alex (Pike) for allowing the move and provisionally agreeing to the extension.”
Bennett has only played twice during his weather-disrupted spell in Dorset, but Killick reiterated the importance of his impact as Poole prepare to catch up with their mountain of fixtures over the coming weeks.
The Dolphins manager added: “He is not just proven at this level, he is prolific. He has already proved his calibre in his two games for us and I know if the ball is in or around the box he will provide a real goal threat.
“It is particularly the case now that the success or failure of our season is condensed down to just a few weeks – everything rides on this period.
“The only positive element to our backlog of games is that we can bring in people on loan who are relatively inexpensive and will play a lot of games for us.”
Meanwhile, Killick declared a win over in-form Corby, who have won five of their past seven Southern League Premier Division outings, would be “essential” to their promotion aspirations.
He said: “Corby have really picked up but I feel we have got to put together a strong run of results, otherwise the gap (to the play-off places) could become unmanageable.
“Getting victories has become more of a necessity now.”
Keith Emmerson returns to an otherwise unchanged squad for Dolphins.
Dolphins: (from) Hutchings, Emmerson, Brooks, Spetch, Martin, Cann, Whisken, Pettefer, Davies, Devlin, Bennett, Preston, Elliott, Chiedozie, Charles, Lowes, Thomas.
- Elsewhere, Bashley travel to Chippenham Town without Lewis Blackmore (knee) and Dave Marden (suspended).
Brad Strickland could return but the club are waiting on international clearance for new signing Ryan Whiteman, a 25-year-old from Halifax County United in Canada.
Bash: (from) Jones, Rolls, Morris, Roberts, Ansell, Marden, Bulpitt, Brookes, Lloyd, Soetan, Joyce, Odam, Manders, Gazzard, Kenna, Strickland, George.