HEBBURN Town boss Paul Bennett has warned his players he will be ‘ruthless’ in his bid to fire them to promotion this season – and has told them they must be the same.
Town blasted their way into the Northern League Division Two top six with a goal-laden win over Seaham Red Star in midweek.
New signing Alex Benjamin struck four times on his debut in a 6-3 win that put them just two points off the final promotion place.
But with a tricky run of fixtures ahead of them, starting with tomorrow’s trip to second-placed Darlington RA, Bennett has warned his players they can’t let their standards drop.
And to that end, he plans on adding to his squad in the next couple of weeks to keep it fresh for the difficult run-in.
He said: “Jeff Forsyth and Liam McBryde come back after missing the Seaham game because of work, and Dean Nicholson’s suspension is finished.
“They’re three great players to have back, though the 16 who were picked against Seaham will feel they should play.
“But the team’s going to be picked on a game by game basis. I’ve got to be ruthless, and the players have to be the same out on the pitch.
“I’m going to try and sign a couple of more players to keep the squad strong.
“Players are going to have to understand that they will miss a few games.
“The second division is about grafting, whereas we have got footballers, so that might be our undoing.
“The players have got to put a shift in every game between now and the end of the season.
“We’ve got 17 games left and I want us to win 13. That should get us promoted.”
The win over Seaham was even more vital given that it saw Hebburn catching up on their games on the teams around them, with Benjamin making an instant impression.
Bennett had deliberated over signing the nomadic striker after he was put on the transfer list by Jarrow Roofing, having already had spells with South Shields and Sunderland RCA this season.
But with promotion rivals North Shields interested in Benjamin’s goalscoring ability, Bennett decided to take the plunge – and the player repaid his faith in spades.
He added: “I sat down with Alex and told him to come and enjoy his football.
“It was a great debut – he was the difference.
“On the morning of the game I told him I wanted a hat-trick off him – he replied by saying he’d score four. He was quick to remind me about that afterwards.
“He worked hard for the team too. The first impressions are very good.”