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Benyon's absence from Shrimpers squad prompts Plainmoor gossip

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

By DAVID THOMAS

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THE name of one player who wasn't even there was the subject of plenty of discussion around Plainmoor last Saturday.

Southend United manager Paul Sturrock was so well off for striking talent that former Torquay forward Elliot Benyon, and ex-Millwall legend Neil Harris for that matter, didn't even get into the squad which beat the Gulls 4-1.

Sturrock's two striking substitutes, Freddy Eastwood and Barry Corr, would walk into most League Two attacks.

But with ex-Gulls loanee Gavin Tomlin and on-loan Watford starlet Britt Assombalona scoring twice apiece, Eastwood and Corr managed to get on for only 30 minutes between them.

But all the talk at Plainmoor was that Southend, who wouldn't be averse to lightening their considerable wage-bill, would probably be interested in loaning out Benyon.

And the fact that they'd just beaten Torquay so convincingly only helped to spice up the gossip.

Yet sadly, Benyon's career seems to have stalled somewhat since his three-and-a-half happy years at Plainmoor from 2007 until New Year 2011.

The former Bristol City trainee scored 46 goals from 88 starts, with another 56 sub appearances thrown in, during that time.

That record prompted Swindon to pay £125,000 for him, which looked then and certainly does now like a terrific bit of business for the Gulls.

Since his move to the County ground, Benyon has scored just four goals for Swindon, his hometown club Wycombe on loan and, since his move to Roots Hall last January, Southend.

He was held up by a wrist injury at Wycombe, but the fact that he now appears well down the pecking-order at Roots Hall represents a disappointing situation for a player whose work-rate and opportunism made him such a popular figure here.

It didn't take much for the rumour-mill to start turning around Benyon's name last weekend.

But maybe one person who should take a fair bit of credit was forgotten.

Former Gulls boss Paul Buckle and Benyon, who's still only 25, may have rubbed each other up the wrong way from time to time, but Buckle remained 'on his case' throughout his time at Plainmoor and no manager since has got nearly as much out of him.

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