Young Derby County striker Mason Bennett will get more first-team chances, says manager Nigel Clough
TEENAGE striker Mason Bennett is in the frame to play more of a role in Derby County's final 12 matches of the season.
First, Bennett will look to help the Rams under-18s reach the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup when they take on Manchester City at Pride Park Stadium tonight (7pm).
But 20 minutes as a substitute in Saturday's defeat at Watford in the Championship pressed his claim for first-team action.
Nigel Clough was impressed by the impact the 16-year-old made as Derby pushed Watford back in the closing stages at Vicarage Road.
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"Mason was about ready for a game and he did well," said the manager.
"He has got a big game for the youth team tonight and that should be his priority for now but it was nice to get him involved on Saturday.
"We have had him on the bench for first-team games but not had the opportunity to get him on the pitch.
"He will get a chance between now and the end of the season."
Bennett became the club's youngest-ever player when he made his debut at Middlesbrough last season and the England Youth international played a total of seven games in 2012-13.
His chances this season have been limited.
With Jamie Ward, Conor Sammon, Theo Robinson and Nathan Tyson ahead of him at times in the striker department, Bennett has been restricted to five appearances as a substitute.
Tyson has joined Millwall on loan until the end of the season and Robinson is on loan at Huddersfield Town, although Chris Martin has been brought in from Norwich City for a month.
"Mason has been behind Theo and Nathan this season," said Clough.
"But we have given the young players a chance this season and he is right in the frame."