Benjamin will benefit from week’s training

Manager James McPake revealed that the substitution of centre back Xavier Benjamin on his debut last Saturday was due to the new loan signing’s hamstrings tightening. The gaffer added that he has faith in the defender and he is confident he will go on to be a good player for this football club.

Xav was parachuted in to last weekend’s cinch Championship match having left home before 4.00am on Friday morning to fly on the early morning flight from Bristol to Edinburgh and be on time for training with his new team mates that morning. His manager feels that with another week training with the group, the 20 year old can make a valuable contribution to the team.

“You can never tell how someone will play but he has been in now for a week, in and around the group. The boy is a good player so I don’t think any blame can be laid at him for Saturday. He flew up Friday morning and trained. He had played on the Monday of that week so he was ready to play. 

“In the circumstances had we a bigger squad, in an ideal world you might have bedded him in a little. It was a decision we made, the lad was desperate to play. Probably something I didn’t speak about after the game just because it never came into my head, we never took him off because he was not any worse than anyone else. We took him off because his hamstrings were tightening up, probably the travelling up, the lack of sleep. He is fine and has been good this week. 

“The boys got round about him, that is the key thing, the group is that tight and strong, setbacks hurt but they are that good a group that they can take them and recover from them.”

Xavier has been captain of the Cardiff City under 21s since joining the club in 2022 and won the Academy Player of the Year at the end of the 2022-2023 season. James has spoken to Cardiff’s U21 manager Darren Purse – a coach with over 100 appearances as a centre back at both Cardiff City and Birmingham – and the Pars gaffer related:-

“Darren Purse down at Cardiff says he is a proper defender, he is vocal and for someone such a young age, he is a leader. I felt for him, I have been in that position myself where you are flung straight in and it doesn’t go well for you. I have complete faith he will recover to be a good football player for this football club for the rest of the season.”

While Xavier and Malachi Fagan-Walcott are both on loan at the same Scottish club they could be up against a Cardiff City teammate, nineteen year old midfielder James Crole who is currently on loan to this weekend’s opponents Queen’s Park.

Manager Previews Queen’s Park Match

Xavier Benjamin First Interview

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