Tisdale tempted to use Bennett as a striker for Exeter City
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says he will give serious thought to playing Scot Bennett as an emergency striker if he again has to select a team without key striker Sam Parkin.
The 31-year-old former Chelsea and Swindon Town striker has been a huge influence on the Grecians this season and scored two goals. But while his goals return may not be that impressive, his overall contribution to the City frontline has and his absence was notable in last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Newport County.
When the Welsh side grabbed their second goal, Tisdale threw caution to the wind by throwing Bennett into the attack. He also played there in the last game of last season, when City went down to a 4-0 defeat at Chesterfield and on both occasions, his physicality caused problems for the defenders.
“If I had two Scot Bennett’s, I would have played them both on Saturday,” Tisdale said. “The next time Sam Parkin is missing, maybe we will have to look at playing Scot up front because he was our stand out player and our best striker at the end of the game.
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“We put him in those situations every week in training when we need to put him there. I am hoping we are not chasing two-goal deficits with 15 minutes to go very often, but he was our most potent attacker at the end.
“He is tough, he leads the play and reacts extremely quickly to situations and he is an absolute footballer. He can score goals and he can defend goals. If I had three or four of him, then they would be playing.”
Bennett has certainly shown his versatility since breaking into the first team, where he started out at centre half. He was then moved into a defensive midfield role and has also played at right-back for the club, as well as up front in that match at Chesterfield.
However, it is at centre half where he has started the last three league games for the Grecians to allow Pat Baldwin to fill in at right-back. With City signing Danny Butterfield last weekend, the experienced and natural right-back that Tisdale has craved for a while now, it poses the question what the manager will do when Butterfield is fit and available for selection.
Bennett has performed well at the heart of defence alongside Danny Coles, whose long-standing partnership with Baldwin has been the foundation on what the City team of the last two years has been built. Now, it seems Tisdale must choose whether to revert back to a Baldwin-Coles backline, stick with Bennett and Coles, or do something completely different.
“Danny (Butterfield) is not quite fit yet, since he was injured at Carlisle, so I think he will be a fortnight away from being considered. We are probably looking at the Plymouth game with him, but it certainly gives me something to think about,” Tisdale admitted.