Still: Benson is going nowhere!

MANAGER John Still has confirmed that striker Paul Benson will be leading the line for Dagenham & Redbridge this season. Newspaper speculation this week had reported that Benson was on his way to League One side Gillingham, with boss Mark Stimson claiming

MANAGER John Still has confirmed that striker Paul Benson will be leading the line for Dagenham & Redbridge this season, writes MIKE SIMMONDS.

Newspaper speculation this week had reported that Benson was on his way to League One side Gillingham, with boss Mark Stimson claiming the player wanted to move to Priestfield.

But Still insisted that wasn't the case and that his star striker had actually reaffirmed his commitment to the club.

"Let me make it clear, Paul has come to me, not the other way around and said he has no desire at all to leave the club," he said.


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"I have read a lot of rubbish in other papers and on the internet that he wants to join Gillingham, but that is not the case.

"If there was an offer that came in that was right for him and we couldn't turn down, then naturally he would talk to them.

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"But as I have stated, Mark Stimson asked if we would sell Paul Benson and I said he wasn't for sale, but if you want to make me an offer, I will take it to the board.

"I also said that if it was between �15-�20k then that wouldn't be enough, so I have no idea where the figure of �150,000 came from.

"No player has ever wanted to leave this club, the likes of Craig Mackail-Smith and Dominic Green had to be pushed out of the door literally, while the three who left recently just had the right offer that came along."

One player who should be joining Daggers over the next few days is centre half Will Antwi, who has played in both pre-season friendlies at Concord Rangers and Boreham Wood.

The former Crystal Palace and Wycombe defender would be a like-for-like replacement for Magnus Okuonghae, and Still is anticipating a deal to be thrashed out soon.

"I would expect him to sign for us this week," admitted the boss.

"He's always been a player I have liked, he has trained hard and done well for us.

"He has good experience and is a good organiser on the pitch, so it should be done soon."

The future of fellow trialist Glenn Poole isn't so clear-cut though, as despite playing against Concord on Saturday, Still is not sure whether the club can afford to bring him in.

"Finances will dictate what happens with Glenn, it all depends if we can afford him, we'll have to see about that one," said Still, who didn't rule out further reinforcements, including trialist Henry Eminiki.

"We watched Henry playing for Kingsbury in the South Midlands League and we like him.

"He has come in and really impressed us in training, so we'll keep having a look at him.

"I might be looking at a couple more players, but I think the squad is almost complete now."

Daggers continue their pre-season campaign at Zamaretto Southern League side Mangotsfield United this weekend, before travelling to Blue Square South outfit Thurrock on Monday.

A strong squad will be taken to both matches as Still is keen to continue their pre-season work.

"It's all about fitness at the moment, and players getting games under their belts," said Still.

"They have hardly done any ball work at the moment, and a lot of them trained in the day before playing against Boreham Wood on Tuesday.

"Once those games are out of the way and we get to the likes of Southend, Birmingham and Orient, then the football starts.

"We'll do some organisational side of things then, but I'm happy with how everything is shaping up right now."

How glad are you that Benson is staying? Email: sport@ilfordrecorder.co.uk

The Recorder is now on Twitter, so if you follow twitter.com/Recorder_DagRed then you will get up to the minute updates on goings on at Victoria Road.

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