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'Dad won't speak to me for weeks, but mum was happy'

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

EMOTIONAL RETURN: Paul Benson has faced former side Dagenham and Redbridge and his hometown club Southend United in the past week

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PAUL Benson is looking forward to returning to normality on Saturday after an emotionally draining pair of Cheltenham Town matches.

The Swindon Town loan striker opened his goalscoring account for the Robins in Tuesday night's 2-1 win at Southend United, the team he watched regularly as a boy.

The match came four days after he made his first return to Dagenham and Redbridge, who handed him his big break in football at the age of 24 in 2005.

Facing hometown club Southend was made even more tricky by the fact his dad is a season ticket holder at Roots Hall and a pre-match phone call made it quite clear that Benson senior did not expect to see his son scoring.

"He probably won't speak to me for weeks now!" Benson said. "It was such a strange one because he was in his usual seat, but my mum was behind the goal with the Cheltenham fans, so at least she went home happy.

"It's a ground I know well because I watched every game for six or seven years before I started playing on Saturdays myself.

"It was the third time I had played there and it was my first goal so it was a special one for me.

"But it's been two tough games and hard to deal with mentally because I had such a good time at Dagenham and Southend is my local club.

"But you need to get mind straight and realise what you are paid for. Cheltenham are my club and we needed to get a result and the win."

Benson described his first goal for the Robins as "a tackle that went in" as he capitalised on some poor defensive work between centre-back Michael Spillane and goalkeeper Paul Smith in the 38th minute.

"It definitely wasn't one of my best goals, but they all count," he said. "I basically tackled the ball into the net and it was nice to get off the mark and get the three points as well.

"I've never scored on my debut for any club and it's always taken me a few games to get going after joining clubs, I don't know why.

"I want to go on a little run now and score a few goals as that's why the gaffer (Mark Yates) has brought me here."

Benson hobbled off in the second half having taken a whack to a thigh late in the first period. He was due in for treatment with senior sports therapist Ian Weston yesterday morning and is hopeful he will be fit for Saturday's home match against Aldershot Town.

He has experienced promotion from League Two with both Dagenham and Swindon and four games into his Cheltenham career he is confident they are capable of following suit.

"It's a very good squad and all the core elements of a promotion winning side are all there," he said.

"The hard work and desire are definitely there, we just need to add a bit more quality and consistency.

"We need to go on a run and five or six wins on the bounce would give us a great shot of going up automatically."

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