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PAOLO Di Canio was surprised that Paul Benson did not take up the opportunity to leave the County Ground recently.

The striker failed to agree to a move to Cheltenham last week after previously turning down Bradford’s offer of a contract, despite the terms of both moves being agreed by Swindon Town and the clubs in question.

With 18 months left on his current deal at Town, the 33-year-old would appear to be in no rush to make a snap decision on his future after being refused permission to extend his loan stay at Portsmouth.

Di Canio is keen to free up funds by offloading a number of his fringe players, either on loan or pemanently, during the January transfer window, and he was a little taken aback by Benson’s choice.

“We know with Benson we had an opportunity and it is incredible that he didn’t accept it.

“He is free to decide what he wants but it’s strange because it’s close to here,” he said. We can’t be selfish people. Even if he wants to play at Portsmouth, they don’t have any (money). We pay money for him.

“We will work and see if he can go to a team who want to win the league.”

Benson’s availability is believed to have attracted the attention of a whole host of clubs, with Colchester, Southend, Gillingham and former side Dagenham all understood to be interested in the possibility of snapping up his services.

The Bristol Evening Post reported on Sunday night that Bristol Rovers manager John Ward - who looked into signing Benson for Colchester 12 months ago - was set to make an enquiry for the frontman.

Meanwhile, Di Canio is frustrated by the lack of interest in Luke Rooney and Lee Cox.

“It’s strange becaue Cox did well at Oxford,” he said.

“Rooney didn’t have very good success with Rotherham but he is a talented player, we have to defend our value. Even if we have to think the priority is the club, he is our value.

“I can’t imagine he won’t have the opportunity to play regular football in League Two but if nobody wants them they will be a part of the squad.”