IT is proving something of a roller-coaster first season in the Championship for Kyle Bennett.
The former Bury midfielder was a regular in Sean O’Driscoll’s team at the start of the season, but has fared less well since Dean Saunders took over in late September and has started the last seven games on the bench after making three successive starts.
“Obviously it is disappointing because I want to play as many games as I can,” said the 20 year-old.
“But the manager doesn’t seem to see me starting at the moment; he wants to go with something different. When he wants me to play he’ll pick me and in the meantime I’ve got to keep working hard in training so that I’m ready when I get my chance again.
“I’ve got to try and make an impact whenever I come off the bench but it is not always easy. You start cold and it can be difficult to adapt quickly to the pace of the game. You’ve just got to work hard.
“I feel that I’m a lot better player than when I first came here. I’ve learnt a lot about playing at a higher level than last season and also training every day with the quality players we’ve got at the club.”
Bennett expects to start on the bench against Leicester tomorrow but says that whoever starts it is a game that Rovers can win.
“They have spent a lot of money and I expect them to be up there at the end of the season,” he told The Star.
“But we are at home and we got a good result in our last home game against Southampton and we are looking to put on another good show for the supporters.
“We’ve picked up a few points recently and we are off the bottom and aren’t too far behind the teams just above the relegation zone as we approach the midway point of the season.
“Obviously we’d like to be out of the bottom three, but there is a long way to go and a lot of points to play for.
“We’ve got to put a run together and we are conscious of the fact that we’ve not yet recorded back-to-back wins this season.
“We thought that we might do that when we took the lead early in the second half at Birmingham last weekend and to end up going down 2-1 wasn’t the result that we wanted.
“We started off quite well, did fine in the first half and we felt that we could have come in at half-time ahead.
“We spoke at half-time about the need to keep it solid in the second half because to come away with a point was obviously preferable to coming away empty handed.
“But when we got the goal after 50 minutes I thought that we could come away with all three points but we made a couple of defensive lapses and they scored a couple of goals to win 2-1.
“I think 1-1 would probably have been a fairer result because I felt that we deserved a point.
“A point is obviously better than nothing but even though we are in the bottom-three we always think that we can beat anyone.
“Even though we lost we are starting to look more solid as a team and the defence has been doing very well. It just seems that every error we make is getting punished.”
Teams and referee
ROVERS: (possible) Ikeme; O’Connor, Hird, Beye, Ilunga; Goulon, Stock, Gillett; Coppinger, Sharp, Fortune (4-3-3).
LEICESTER: (possible) Schmeichel; Peltier, St Ledger, Bamba, Konchesky; Gallagher, King, Wellens, Dyer; Beckford, Nugent (4-4-2).
Darren sheldrake (Surrey): Has handed out 51 yellow and four red cards in in 17 games this season - only three of which have been at Championship level. He issued six yellow cards in last weekend’s Yeovil-Notts County League One game.
He also handed out four yellow and a red in County’s game at MK Dons in October.
He booked five players in the League Two encounter between Gillingham and Accrington Stanley.
One to watch
Striker David Nugent is Foxes top scorer in the Championship with six goals this season. The deceptively quick player, who played for England at both U21 and senior level whilst at Preston, moved on to Premier League Portsmouth before the 2007-08 season and won an FA Cup winners’ medal with them. He spent most of the 2009-10 season on loan at Burnley. The former Liverpool junior returned to Fratton Park last season and scored 14 goals. He joined Leicester in the summer on a free transfer and has quickly become a firm favourite with City fans.
Rovers have failed to beat the Foxes at home since the 1955-56 season when they posted a 6-2 Division Two win - their biggest-ever win over the Midlands side - at Belle Vue. The teams went their separate ways following Rovers’ relegation the following season and they didn’t meet again for over 50 years before crossing swords at the Walkers Stadium in the 2009-10 season in a scrappy 0-0 draw. They met less than a month later, the visitors scoring the only goal of the game in the return at the Keepmoat. Rovers crashed to a 5-1 defeat at the Walkers Stadium last season but grabbed a 1-1 draw in the return with Steve Brooker scoring his only league goal at the Keepmoat during an injury-plagued spell at the club.