Bent's tribute to Stewart

DARREN Bent is taking great delight in proving one-time mentor and hero Marcus Stewart absolutely right, writes Derek Davis.Three years ago Stewart told the EADT that Bent was a huge talent and would one day take his place as Ipswich Town's leading scorer.

DARREN Bent is taking great delight in proving one-time mentor and hero Marcus Stewart absolutely right, writes Derek Davis.

Three years ago Stewart told the EADT that Bent was a huge talent and would one day take his place as Ipswich Town's leading scorer.

At the time Stewart was on his way to scoring 19 Premiership goals – the highest for an Englishman that season – and to establishing himself in Ipswich folklore.

Bent was doing the business in the reserves and youth team but had yet to make his first-team debut.


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Stewart returns to Portman Road today top of the Sunderland scorers with 14 goals, the same as Bent, who leads the Town tally.

Bent remembers reading the prophecy in the EADT and admits it meant a lot. "Marcus is a legend – a great player. When I was in the youth team, out of all the strikers he was the one who helped me the most.

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"He was always giving me advice, saying if you do this it will help you, and what he put in your paper was fantastic.

"I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn but if I can keep improving and working hard in training and putting the ball in the net I can go on to become a top-class striker like he said.

"Marcus was a big influence for me but now we are rivals on the pitch so it will be a battle."

Bent's seventh goal in six games has pushed him top of the Town strikers and he is now chasing his initial target of the season. He will then look to go on and crack the 20 mark

He said: "I'm after my 15th goal, but, to be honest, I don't care if it comes off my shin or if it is an own goal or whoever scores, just as long as we get the three points.

"It is a fantastic feeling to be top scorer. It was not long ago that I was stuck on four goals and it seemed like a mountain to climb to reach 15. But now I have got a little run together and the team is playing better and we are getting results.

"We have come into form at the right time. We didn't want to peak too early or too late so we have timed it just right."

Bent had already had one goal disallowed for offside stemming from a similar move when Martijn Reuser had played a through ball for him. He was not going to waste a second chance.

He said: "I held my run a little longer and Martijn played a great ball through for me. I had a little look at the keeper and I saw him jump and so I just kept it low. Willie Donachie is always on about just hitting the target, and I did."

As proud as he was of his goal Bent was drooling over the Jermaine Wright volley which put Town on level terms.

He said: "It was a fantastic goal by Jamma and then I managed to get my goal, and Shefki rounded off a great day.

"Jamma is doing that in training all the time and we are always ribbing him about not doing it in games, and now he has."

The 20-year-old will be making his 85th Town appearance today, and with 34 goals under his belt, scores on average one goal every 2.5 games.

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