Cheltenham Town: Alan Bennett is staying - Mark Yates
ALAN Bennett is under contract and will be a Cheltenham Town player next season, according to Robins boss Mark Yates.
Skipper Bennett joined Cheltenham on a one-year deal after his release from Wycombe Wanderers last year – a deal that also had an option of a second year if Bennett passed an appearance threshold.
The Irish international defender made 51 appearances in all competitions last term, forming a formidable defensive partnership with Steve Elliott.
Elliott has already signed a new contract to remain at the Abbey Business Stadium for a third season and Yates has confirmed that Bennett will be there to partner him.
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A disconsolate Bennett revealed he would consider his Robins future after the play-off final defeat to Crewe and since then the football rumour mill has seen the 30-year-old linked with a move to Leyton Orient.
But Yates is disregarding any of those rumours and expects his key defender and captain to remain at Whaddon Road next season.
"There is nothing to say on it bar the fact that Alan has kicked in the second year of his contract," Yates said.
"He was a really good player for us last season and a really good captain for myself to deal with and Alan will be here next year.
"He is contracted to the club and nothing will happen with him."
Elliott has been joined by young defender Harry Hooman and goalkeeper Scott Brown in agreeing new terms for next season.
Yates is hopeful that the remaining four out-of-contract players – Keith Lowe, Luke Summerfield, Bagasan Graham and Jeff Goulding – will also agree terms to extend their Robins careers.
"It's important that we keep the nucleus of the squad together and I'm delighted that those three players have re-signed for next season already," he said.
"We are still working with the others and hopefully we can get those done as well.
"Scott improved massively as a goalkeeper last season and was brilliant around the place even when he wasn't in the side.
"But more importantly he was brilliant on the field when called upon as well and still played the best part of 30 games in which he did superbly well.
"He will start the season as the number one without a shadow of a doubt. I won't be bringing Jack Butland back to the club, I wouldn't have thought, as much as we would love to.
"But Scott will get someone to challenge him and we want some stiff competition, as I want competition everywhere in the squad.
"Steve was manificent for us, he's played something like 75 to 80 games in his two years with us, so his fitness certainly isn't an issue if we manage him properly and he was a rock for us.
"I am hopeful that the remaining players will sign their deals too, that's certainly the plan.
"Jeff has just got back from his holiday on Wednesday and I will be speaking to him in the next day or so.
"Keith Lowe is still away on honeymoon so I won't be interrupting him on that and I am due to speak to Bagasan and his agent very soon as well.
"I don't see any problems with those three and the Luke Summerfield situation is very well documented, but we're still hopeful."