Bent set for Premiership move

MARCUS Bent is on the verge of returning to the Premiership, with more than one club poised to make a move for him over the next 36 hours, writes Derek Davis.

MARCUS Bent is on the verge of returning to the Premiership, with more than one club poised to make a move for him over the next 36 hours, writes Derek Davis.

The EADT reported earlier this week that Leeds United were one of the clubs monitoring Bent, with Peter Reid personally checking him out at Crewe a fortnight ago.

Reid last night admitted he was close to bringing in a new striker and hoped a deal could be done today.

Leicester City and Spurs have also been linked with Bent in the past, but I undertstand that Fulham have renewed their interest in him now that Steve Marlet is moving to Marseille.

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Former Blackburn Rovers striker Bent is available at a knock-down price and at least one other club has also shown interest.

With the Premiership window closing at midnight tomorrow, Ipswich are bracing themselves for last minute negotiations.

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Blues boss Joe Royle last night confirmed that inquiries had been made for Bent, but refused to name the interested parties.

He said: "There has been some interest shown in Marcus over the past couple of days and we need movement on player wages if we are to bring new people in."

Bent, who was bought for £3m in November 2001, would be available for a nominal fee. He has scored once already this season, the opener against Coventry City last week.

The move comes exactly a year to the day after Marcus Stewart left Portman Road for Sunderland.

And Bent is not the only Town player attracting interest from Premiership clubs, as Ipswich remain in a financial position where they have to consider bids for any of their stars.

Darren Bent and Matt Richards have been attracting interest from Newcastle United and Southampton, while Chris Makin's displays in defence have made managers sit up.

Alun Armstrong gets his chance to strut his stuff this afternoon with Derby County and Rotherham keen on him, but his personal terms may put them off.

Armstrong is available on a free but Royle is determined to use him to freshen up his attack. He said: "He is still picking up his pay so he is available to play and I will use him at some stage."

Sheffield United have taken Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard on a three-month loan spell to cover for the injured Paddy Kenny, leaving Andy Marshall still looking for a new club after being handed a free transfer by Town.

This is a big weekend for Ipswich Town.

For Royle to dabble in the loan market he needs to get another player off the wage bill and defeat by West Ham today would deal the club a massive psychological blow.

If Preston, Derby and Watford, all win their matches at home to Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Gillingham, respectively, and Ipswich fail to beat the Hammers they could find themselves bottom of the Division One table.

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