Hird praises Kyle special

Goal heroes: Kyle Bennett and James Hayter were praised by team mate Sam Hird for their performances against Barnsley.
Goal heroes: Kyle Bennett and James Hayter were praised by team mate Sam Hird for their performances against Barnsley.
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DONCASTER Rovers’ defender Sam Hird says he wasn’t surprised by the quality of Kyle Bennett’s goal in Monday’s 2-0 derby win over Barnsley at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“He can tear people apart; he does it for fun in training and then puts the ball into the back of the net,” said the Doncaster-born centre-back: “He can be massive for us.”

“It was a great goal (against Barnsley) but he also did the other side of the game (tackling and pressing) which was good. If he can continue to do that he can be a massive player for us.

“I was also happy to see James Hayter (another player not to have featured on a regular basis in recent weeks) get a goal.

“It was an excellent team performance and we were delighted to pick up the three points and put the two away defeats at Burnley and Watford behind us and hopefully we can now kick on.

“I thought that the performance was up there with the Southampton one. We played well and looked like a team. We were organised and we got our rewards with two excellent goals.

“It it is always nice to keep a clean sheet and on-loan keeper Dave Button had a good debut.

“We didn’t play particularly badly at Burnley on Boxing Day but we didn’t really do ourselves justice at Watford; it wasn’t a good performance there.

“So it was pleasing that not only we not only picked up three points but that we produced a good performance as well.

“It was unfortunate that George (Friend) picked up and injury which could keep him out for a while but Locky (Adam Lockwood) came on as a substitute and he’ll want to cement his place in the team again.

“There is a lot of competition for places in the team and everyone currently in the team knows that they have to put the performances in to keep their place.”

Hird struggled to hold down a regular spot in the back-four when manager Dean Saunders first took over but has made the position his own in recent weeks with a string of accomplished displays.

“It is easier to play well when you are in a team which is well organised and doing well,” he said. “I’m satisfied with my performances and it’s my place to lose at the minute. But we’ve got a lot of defenders at the club and they all want to come in and do well.”

Like the rest of his team-mates, Hird says that he is confident that Rovers will pull clear of the relegation zone in the second half of the season.

“I’m a bit disappointed really that it’s an FA Cup game this weekend,” he said. “Obviously we want to do well in the Cup but it would have been nice to have had another league game on the back of the Barnsley win.

“But we want to win every game and we are looking forward to the Notts County tie and want kick on from there and hopefully get a really good draw in the next round.

“I don’t know too much about them though I know Lee Hughes which might surprise some people. I’ve never played against him before but I know he likes to put himself about a bit.”

Rovers have slashed admission prices for the game to £10 (adults) £1 (juniors).

Saunders, who will have defender Habib Beye available for the Magpies’ game after his one-match ban, is also hopeful that striker El Hadji Diouf (hamstring) will be fit.