Bent on Promotion
Friday, 2nd Aug 2002 15:54
Marcus Bent says that despite the fierce competition for places up front at Town the only contest he is interested in is the First Division championship and a return to the Premiership.
Bent, who the Blues signed from Blackburn for £3 million halfway through last season, told TWTD that, although he has set himself a target, he is not competing with his fellow Blues' strikers: “My target for the season is to score more goals than last time. That was 20, so hopefully I can score a bit more than that.
“The only competition with me is to get back into the Premiership. I don't care how it's done, I just want to be in the Premiership.
“I came from Blackburn who were in the Premiership, I worked so hard to get them into there, and then came to Ipswich who were in the Premiership and then we went down. So, now I have to get my head down and work hard and get myself back up with Ipswich.
“Coming down hurts, but I've had it before with Crystal Palace and, while I wouldn't say I'm experienced at it, I know how it feels and it isn't a nice feeling.”
He says pre-season has gone reasonably well, despite a minor injury: “It's been up and down, really. I started the first game and found fitness quite hard, but it's gradually got better, although I've been in one game and out the next through a niggly hamstring . I didn't want to injure myself so I rested.
“But overall it's gone well, I've starting to get there, the team's starting to get back to the old ways - not losing - and team morale's good. Hopefully we can take that into the Celta Vigo game and then Walsall a week on Saturday.
The ex-Sheffield United man says that Town's Premiership experience could be an advantage to them against First Division opponents: “I hope so, although it's not as easy as that because the First Division is a different league.
“We've got to show we are better than the players we are against and we've got some good youngsters coming through like Darren Bent, Darren Ambrose and Tommy Miller, who didn't play all that much last season.
“They are great players with a lot of ability who work hard and that's what you need in the First Division.”
Contrary to some claims he feels Division One is by no means weak: “There are some good teams in the First Division, there's Leicester and Derby who came down, I think they'll do well, Wolves and the likes of Burnley who, no disrespect to them, are not a club who immediately spring to mind but who did well last year.
“That goes to show you that there are a lot of sides who are capable of finishing in the top six. Even clubs like Reading who have come up, they've got a good side, a good stadium and good backing.
“It's going to be hard and I hope the fans aren't expecting us to run away with it. As much as we are hoping we will, I don't think it's going to be quite like that.”
The summer has seen Bent linked with a number of clubs, Spurs, Charlton and Fulham amongst them, but he takes little notice of it: “Over the last few years, in fact, throughout my career, I couldn't count on everyone's hands throughout this training ground how much speculation there has been about me! Papers talk, people talk, you boys talk, that's just the way things are.”
Although, all transfer talk regarding Bent has been merely speculation, the major Portman Road move of the summer saw Titus Bramble, one of his best friends, leave the club: “I'm very sad to see him go, he's a very good mate of mine. I saw him last week and he's looking fit, like a Premiership player should look. I'm so happy for him, but I'm going to miss him.”
Photo: Action Images
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