RHYS Bennett is desperate to make up for lost time after joining Falkirk on loan until January.

The 19-year-old centre-half missed the second half of last season with a knee injury.

But Bennett is now fully recovered and eager to gain first-team experience at the Scottish First Division club.

“It was frustrating being out injured,” said Bennett, who signed his first professional contract – a one-year deal with an option for a further 12 months – last week.

“I played all the way up to Christmas and then tore cartilage in my knee.

“I was only supposed to be out for six weeks but I came back and it flared up again. I only ended up playing three games in the second half of the season.

“But I’m fine now and just looking forward to playing first-team football.”

Whitefield-born Bennett joined Wanderers as an 11-year-old from neighbours Bury.

He has been a regular with the reserves for the last three seasons and was made captain of John Henry’s side until picking up his injury.

Owen Coyle believes the 6ft 3ins defender will benefit from working with Falkirk manager, and former Scotland centre back, Steven Pressley.

The Bolton boss said: “Steven Pressley is an ex-team mate and a good friend of mine, and it’s a great chance for Rhys to play at a high standard for an international class defender.

“Rhys has been a bit stop-start with injury in the last season but Steven had seen him play and has given him the opportunity to go until January.

“He’s a young player who needs a wee taste of league football and he’ll get it in a tough environment. Strikers up there are no shrinking violets and certainly put themselves about.

“I hope he’ll become a better player for it. He has potential. If you made a photo-fit of how a centre-half should be – his physique, his height – then he ticks all the boxes.

“Now he has to go and back all that up by playing week in, week out and showing those qualities.”

Bennett, for his part, is keen to impress Coyle. He said: “The manager likes to play a passing game and I’m definitely comfortable on the ball and I like to bring it forward from the back “But I know I must work hard on the rest of my game, particularly in the air, and be more vocal and make my presence felt.”