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Paul Benson pleased to end near six-year wait for Dagenham & Redbridge start

PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 August 2016

Paul Benson of Dagenham & Redbridge and Michael Poke of Woking (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Paul Benson of Dagenham & Redbridge and Michael Poke of Woking (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Paul Benson made his first start for Dagenham & Redbridge in 2,184 days at Woking on Saturday and jokingly hopes he does not have to wait as long for his next.

Of course, the 36-year-old has been away from the club for much of that time having moved to Charlton Athletic in August 2010, with his previous start for Daggers coming on August 28 that year.

The striker rejoined the club on a one-year deal in the summer following his release from Luton Town to link up with boss John Still for the third time in his career.

Benson had made two appearances from the bench before being named in the starting XI for the trip to the Cards after Oliver Hawkins was ruled out with a back injury.

The evergreen forward was understandably delighted to start his first Daggers game in nearly six years, but admits it did come as something of a surprise.

“It was brilliant to start against Woking and I didn’t know I would be starting until a couple of hours before,” said Benson.

“Hawks had unfortunately picked up an injury, so it wasn’t planned, but it was nice to be back.

“Hopefully I can get a few more under the belt, because I certainly need it!”

Benson’s return to Victoria Road has been warmly received by the fans, with whom he has always had a great relationship.

When he was unveiled at half time on the opening day of the season, the striker was given a raptuous applause, while his subsequent appearances since have received a similar reception.

And Benson is delighted that even after six years away, he and the Daggers supporters still enjoy a good relationship.

“Ever since I signed first, they’ve always backed me and that’s what helped me have the success the first time around,” he added.

“They backed me from the moment I first came as if I was one of their own.

“We’ve had a great relationship and I’ve always given 100 per cent every time I’ve played for the club.

”Likewise, the fans have always given me 100 per cent, always backed me, so I’m grateful for the support they give me.”

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