PROLIFIC marksman Justin Bennett knows he must keep delivering the goods for Poole Town if he is to stand any chance of realising his Wembley dream.
The Gosport striker made a stunning start to his loan spell with the Dolphins by plundering a hat-trick in their 5-1 win over Southern Premier League rivals Bedford last night.
Bennett, whose goals fired Alex Pike’s Boro to successive promotions, has joined Poole – initially for a month – in a bid to regain his form following an indifferent start to life in Conference South.
And after helping Poole sink Bedford, Bennett had a keen eye on the outcome of Havant & Waterlooville’s FA Trophy quarter-final against Aldershot – with victory for the Hawks setting up a last-four clash with Gosport.
Although Bennett is ineligible for the first leg of the semi-final under the terms of his loan, he would be available for the second at Privett Park on February 22 – and a possible final at Wembley in March.
Bennett, a paraplanner for a financial adviser in Salisbury, told the Daily Echo: “I was buzzing for the lads at Gosport when they won their quarter-final on Saturday.
"I can’t say I am not thinking about it but, as much as it is on my mind, I am just trying to concentrate on doing as well as I can for Poole.
“I would love to be a part of it. It is not every day a player at this level gets the chance of a day out at Wembley and I would be gutted if I were to miss out.
"But there is a still a semi-final to be won and, until anything is decided, I will be trying to do my best for Poole.”
Discussing his loan move, Bennett added: “Goals have been hard to come by for all the strikers at Gosport this season and a few of us have been dropped here and there.
"It has been a case of fits and starts for me. I felt I needed to be playing games to get my confidence back so expressed an interest in going out on loan.
“Alex had a conversation with Tom (Killick) and it was left in my hands. As soon as I heard Poole wanted me, I jumped at the chance because I knew what a good club they were.
"If Alex gets a striker who scores a few goals, he might look at extending the loan and, if I am banging in goals for Poole, he might want to take me back.”
Bennett netted twice inside the opening 19 minutes at Bedford before his third goal was sandwiched between second-half strikes from Marvin Brooks and Jordan Chiedozie. Jordan Jarrold’s effort had made it 2-1.
“My first game could not have gone any better,” said the former Salisbury, Andover and Eastleigh sharpshooter.
“The boys at work said I should set my sights on a hat-trick but I said I would be happy to just get a game because I hadn’t played much recently.”
Dolphins: Buchel, Emmerson, Spetch, Martin, Whisken, Pettefer, Brooks, Devlin (Davies, 80), Bennett (Elliott, 80), Preston, Charles (Chiedozie, 65). Unused subs: Cann, Lowes.