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CONTRACT: Experienced player joins the Blues

Short-term deal for experienced defender

12 November 2020

Carlisle United have today signed Rhys Bennett on a short-term deal which keeps him at Brunton Park until the January transfer window.

Bennett, 29, can play a number of roles and brings a wealth of experience, having amassed over 300 senior career appearances.

Born in Radcliffe, he cut his teeth as a youngster with Bolton Wanderers where he signed his first professional deal. He spent a productive spell on-loan north of the border with Falkirk before making the switch to join Rochdale in the summer of 2012.

A four-year stay at Spotland saw him make over 100 appearances, and he made the hop across country in 2016 to join Mansfield Town.

He played almost every game for the Stags over a two-year spell, then followed manager Steve Evans to Peterborough in May 2018. He played 63 games for the Posh before being released at the end of the last campaign.

Manager Chris Beech said: “I think it’s important that we continuously look at improving what we’ve got, so rather than being reactive, let’s be proactive.

“Rhys is a player I know very well and, in terms of the group, he’ll definitely make us better. I worked with him at Rochdale, he’s 6ft 3, predominantly a centre back but can equally play as a full back, or in midfield.

“He’s got those good attributes you want to bring in terms of strength, power, good speed and being honest.”

“Rhys has been in conversations with clubs in higher leagues than ours and has been promised different contracts, but that hasn’t worked out,” he continued. “It’s happening a lot in this new ‘pandemic’ football environment.

“We’ve kept in contact and I’ve been keen to bring him in from the get-go. Geographically he relocated when he played for Peterborough, so sorting that out has probably been one of the biggest obstacles for him.

“But with family in the north west it’s enabled us to capitalise on a smooth transition and he’s itching to get involved and be in a positive environment.”

“In terms of fitness he’s at a good level already, but there’s always an element of transition required,” he commented. “Rhys is a quality player, he knows what it’s about and what’s required, he bolsters what’s already a very good group.

“He provides us with more strength in depth and gives us additional options in both boxes, should we need it.

“I’m looking forward to working with him again and really pleased he’s here. I know he’ll thrive in the sort of environment we’re trying to create and, as a football club, you’ve got to continue to push the boundaries if you can.

“You should constantly aim to make yourself collectively better, stronger and even more capable, even when from the outside looking in you think we’re doing ok. You always find that it’s the good teams that go again.”

Rhys Bennett will wear squad number 32.


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