Bent fires warning

GOAL-GETTING Darren Bent is looking to pick up where he left off by maintaining the form which won him August's EADT/Powergen Player of the Month, writes Derek Davis.

GOAL-GETTING Darren Bent is looking to pick up where he left off by maintaining the form which won him August's EADT/Powergen Player of the Month, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues striker, who remained at Portman Road when Charlton decided to wait until January before making a second bid for his undoubted prowess, can barely wait to resume league action after notching three international goals in two substitute appearances for England in a week.

Bent said: "I'm buzzing at the moment. To get three goals in two games for your country is amazing and, hopefully, I can take that form into the Millwall game.

"I was full of confidence before I went away but I'm on a real high at the moment. We usually get off to slow starts but our home form is incredible at the moment and we have made this place a fortress.

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"We have made it a difficult place to play for the opposition, the crowd has got behind us and it has been amazing.

"The thing now is maintaining that because it has been a case of having a good month then a bad month, so we need to be consistent."

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Bent has started the season in terrific form and was named the EADT/Powergen's star performer based on the marks awarded after each game in the EADT.

A delighted and proud Bent received the award on return from international duty. He said: "I tried to do the best I can and put in the performances, while notching a few goals along the way.

"Cardiff was probably my favourite game in August. It all came together for me, I managed to get a goal and set up one. We all played well that day and got three points.

"It has all been quite fantastic really, but I'm back at Ipswich now focusing on the Championship."

That said, Bent did allow his concentration to drift slightly to hand another warning to Lewis Price that he is going to get a battering at Blackburn when England play Wales in the Under-21 European Championships.

He said: "Hopefully, I will get a bit of the game and he will be in goal and then it will be a case of 'let the battle commence'.

"Lewis has been keeping clean sheets but I have been scoring so things are going to change, and he will come off the worse."

Bent's month would have looked even better in the scoring stakes if the Football League hadn't taken away his 'goal' against Wolves and notched it up as an own goal by Jody Craddock, a decision Bent accepts as correct.

He said: "I was so surprised when they gave the goal to me over the tannoy because it never touched me.

"It was an own goal because it never touched me, the ball whizzed past me and hit the defender and went in. When it was given to me, though, that was a bonus, but now it has been taken away and that is fair enough – unlike the one they took off me at Sunderland last season."

Bent is still smarting at losing out to the second goal at the Stadium of Light when Gary Breen was credited with scoring an own goal.

Even though he only finished with two Town goals, in August, against Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City, Bent was in sparkling form and finished with an average score of 7.14 out of 10 for the seven games he played in.

The Academy product finished ahead of Tommy Miller and Kevin Horlock, who both averaged 6.86.

Powergen employee Daniel Moy, from Ipswich, won an internal competition within the energy company to award Bent his prize at the Playford Lane training ground yesterday.

The 28-year-old, who plays Sunday League football for St Johns Old Boys, admits Jim Magilton is his favourite player but was delighted to award the prize and to hear that Bent is staying with Town.

The Blues' star admitted last month that he was ready to step up into the Premiership after Charlton made a £3m move for him, but is equally pleased to be staying to help Town in their Championship campaign.

He said: "It was always going to be a win-win situation for me and I'm glad I'm staying here."

n Advance tickets are still available for tomorrow's home clash with Millwall, kick-off 1pm, from the club ticket office and from Planet Blue stores in Portman Road, Buttermarket Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

Tickets start from £20 for adults, £14 for concessions and £5.50 for under 16s. Or call the ticket office on 01473 400555.

Next Tuesday's FA Premier League reserve game at Portsmouth has been postponed. It will now take place on Tuesday, April 12.

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