Bent looking for goals now

DETERMINED Darren Bent is delighted to have got first-night nerves out of the way and is looking to get the goal machine started.

By Derek Davis

Chief Football Writer

DETERMINED Darren Bent is delighted to have got first-night nerves out of the way and is looking to get the goal machine started.

The England Under-21 international is hoping he is not among the cull tomorrow night when manager Joe Royle makes changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Reading at Portman Road on Saturday, and he will at least get the chance to come off the bench if he doesn't start.

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Bent said: "I'm keen to keep playing and to get off the mark for the season. Hopefully he won't change it too much and I will get a bash on Wednesday."

The 19-year-old appreciates he didn't sparkle against the Royals on Saturday but put it down to being a slow starter.

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He said: "I don't really know what happened, perhaps it was the heat, maybe the nerves of first game of the season and I was trying too hard. But that is out of the way now so it is just a case of carrying on and getting that first goal.

"I went without scoring for the first three games last season then, bang, I was away so hopefully I can score against Kidderminster or Crewe on Saturday."

A proven goalscorer with 18 goals under his belt last season, Bent refuses to make extravagant claims for the coming year.

He said: "I'm not setting any targets, I'm not going to put myself under that pressure. All I'm going to do is concentrate on scoring in each game."

He does feel that having just one strike partner in a game rather than two may be more beneficial to his game, not that he is presuming to tell the manager what system should be used.

He said: "I'll play whatever the manager wants me to play but personally I prefer 4-4-2. From a striker's point of view there is more space and more runs available to make in a two, whereas with a three you can sometimes be snookered."

This time last year Town were preparing for a UEFA Cup qualifying match so it is quite some contrast to be playing a Third Division side in the first round of the Carling Cup, but the players will not be treating it any differently.

Bent said: "It doesn't make much difference whatever competition it is and whoever you play, you have got to give your best."

With one of Town's toughest competitors out of the way early on, Bent believes the benchmark has been sent for what will be a difficult division.

He said: "We always knew Reading were going to be a hard team to play, now we have got that hard test out of the way we know what to expect from the rest and we have to start picking up wins now."

By the time the final curtain falls on the season it is a fair bet the goal machine will have left the opening goal well behind.

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