Cardiff City manager Mick McCarthy has ruled out the possibility of Joe Bennett re-signing with the club.
Bennett left City after five successful years this summer, much to many supporters’ dismay, after both parties failed to reach an agreement over new contract terms.
The left-back’s awful ACL injury also came at the worst time, too, back in March, when he was hitting his best form again during a successful period at the start of McCarthy’s reign.
The 31-year-old has had to undergo surgery to rectify the problem and, incredibly, is already back out on the grass.
The club had a duty of care to aid the player’s rehabilitation and as such Bennett has been at the club’s Vale of Glamorgan HQ gradually working his way back to fitness.
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Bennett has documented his recovery on social media and posted photos and videos of himself with Cardiff City kit on at the Vale.
This week, in fact, the player uploaded photos of him taking part in training with the rest of the Cardiff City squad, prompting many supporters to question whether he would sign a new contract.
But while McCarthy would have liked him to stay, he poured cold water on any notion that the player will be given another contract with the Bluebirds this summer.
When asked if there was a discussion still to be had over handing the player fresh terms, McCarthy replied: “No there isn’t.
“He is in the building and he is going to train. I am more than happy for him to train, he has been a great servant to the club.
“I think there was an offer made to him prior to me coming in and it didn’t get signed. That’s just the way it is. Contracts run out. Sadly for him he got injured.
“If he hadn’t have been injured he would have left, played for someone else and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
“I was quite sad about it because I spoke to Benno when I came in, I knew his contract was running out.
“I discussed with him about staying, then injury comes and it changed it all.”
It is understood that Bennett was in fact open to staying at Cardiff, but the club did not table another formal offer after that initial one was turned down earlier in the year.
However, his exit does mean Joel Bagan will be given his opportunity to show what he can really do this year after a frustrating end to last season following his shoulder dislocation up at Huddersfield.
But it also hands 18-year-old left-back Tom Davies a slight opportunity to press his case and that, McCarthy said, could be the best thing to come from Bennett’s departure.
“The landscape has changed here in terms of signings and money and whatever else,” the manager added.
“It might be the best thing that’s ever happened for Tom Davies, Kieron Evans, Mark Harris, Sam Bowen. All those players.
“I always get excited about that. I’d love a couple of these four or five to come through.
“Rubin [Colwill] has done it and Sam Bowen has been excellent in pre-season.
“I’d love for one or two of them to be in the squad, nipping at getting a game, rather than me having to go out and get anyone else.
“That would be perfect.”