Swindon Town striker Paul Benson has joined on loan this afternoon in a deal which will see him through until the end of the season.
Paul, 33, has very much been in the headlines over the past few weeks with a number of clubs interested in his services but he is now a Cheltenham Town player and will be available this weekend when Torquay United come to town. He has been handed squad number 19.
"Patience has paid off and we have been greatly rewarded," explained Mark.
"We would have liked to have done things sooner but it was important for Paul to think about things and decide on whether it was the best move for him. This is just the kind of signing we needed following the departure of Chris Zebroski. We have been lacking presence up front and that's nothing against the boys already here but it has been evident.
"We are happy to have brought a quality player into the club such as Paul."
Born in Southend-on-Sea, Benson joined Dagenham & Redbridge in July 2005 after being spotted playing for Essex non-League outfit White Ensign, for whom he scored 96 goals in two seasons.
The six-foot hitman struck 28 times in 2006/07 to help Dagenham & Redbridge win the Conference title, and netted 22 goals the following term, scoring in all three play-off matches as Daggers defeated Rotherham United 3-2 in the League Two play-off final to clinch promotion. In total, including FA Trophy matches, Benson notched 84 goals in 201 games for John Still's side.
Originally on the books of Southend United, Benson departed Roots Hall when he wasn't offered a professional contract at the end of his time in the club's youth set-up. He went on to join two of his brothers at White Ensign, who were then at the very bottom of the non-League football ladder. Four years into a trainee accountancy course in the City of London, Benson swapped pinstripes for the red and white of Dagenham & Redbridge. However, his first season with his new side was one of frustration as he found the back of the net just once after struggling to hold down a first-team spot, also spending three months on the sidelines with a broken leg. But he found his shooting boots the following term, hitting 28 goals to finish as the Conference's top scorer as Still's side sealed promotion to League Two.
His fine form earned him his first England non-League call-up and he marked his debut for the National Game XI with a goal in a defeat by Northern Ireland. Daggers' first season in The Football League saw Benson finish as the club's second top scorer with nine goals after missing part of the campaign through injury. He hit 21 goals the following term and last season notched at Wembley to take his tally for the season to 22.
The frontman joined Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee on Monday 30th August and made his debut for the club the next day in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy - against his former side.
In total he scored ten goals in 28 starts for the Addicks before joining Swindon at the second attempt after an emergency loan move failed to beat the deadline in late 2011.
Benson made his Swindon debut from the bench in the 2-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon on Monday 2nd January 2012. He has been a revelation since signing for Town and was named npower League 2 Player of the Month for February. He ended the League Two title winning campaign with 12 goals to his name. He spent a two-month loan spell with Portsmouth earlier this term, scoring twice for the Fratton Park club in seven games, before heading to the Abbey Business Stadium for a new chapter in his career.
“He has been fantastic for us but this season we have tried to play in a different way to last season." said Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio.
“Paul is very fit, very athletic and a great professional. In the way we play it has been difficult for him so we have been fair to him so he can move on."
Paul will be in the squad to face Torquay this weekend and you can buy tickets for that game now at our Online Box Office. Click here to buy tickets now.