Joe Bennett is an option to provide competition for places at left back for Blackburn Rovers, as was revealed in a piece by the Lancashire Telegraph.
The free agent – recently let go after a five year spell at Cardiff City – has been out since March with a knee injury. The 31-year-old could be a valuable addition on the cheap if he can prove his fitness, with Harry Pickering the only recognised left back at the club following the departures of Amari’i Bell and Barry Douglas.
The former England U21 international has avoided extended spells on the sidelines in his career suggesting he could become a reliable option for Tony Mowbray’s side once recovered.
Bennett is vastly experienced in the Championship, scoring seven and assisting 18 times in 262 appearances for Middlesbrough, Brighton and Hove Albion, Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City. Is there a better understudy to mentor second tier newcomer Harry Pickering?
Rovers only have two defenders over the age of 23 in their ranks, increasing Bennett’s value in his experience at the level in comparison. He could be as good of an addition off the pitch as on it.
It is a very young squad, with only eight players over 23, and one of those being Bradley Dack, who is set for a long spell away from the pitch after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury for the second time in successive seasons.
If, a big if, Joe Bennett can prove his fitness or that a return is imminent then it would be a sensible signing. It should not dent their budget too much and would add crucial experience to Mowbray’s options.
However, knee injuries can be very temperamental and at the age of 31 this is not a player that can hit the heights he did earlier in his career on a consistent basis. Therefore, if Bennett cannot be available for some of pre-season then Rovers are better off looking elsewhere. After all they were able to attract some exciting players in the loan market last term.