Darren hopes brace makes up for misses

DARREN Bent bagged his second brace in two weeks and hoped his cracking couple against Preston went some to make up for his mighty misses at Burnley, writes Derek Davis.

DARREN Bent bagged his second brace in two weeks and hoped his cracking couple against Preston went some to make up for his mighty misses at Burnley, writes Derek Davis.

The 18-year-old was thrown on as a 67th-minute substitute to replace Pablo Counago who was being bypassed in the second half after a terrific first 45 minutes.

Bent's pace was clearly troubling a tiring Lilywhites side but it was the introduction of Darren Ambrose, the other half of this extraordinary double act, that sunk pluck Preston.

Marcus Bent had given Town a half-time lead with a great leap and header to nod Jim Magilton's free-kick in off the underside of the crossbar.

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The Blues made it two when Ambrose came on for the influential Magilton who has been struggling with a calf injury.

Ambrose's first kick was a corner flicked on at the near post by Hermann Hreidarsson and nodded in at the far post by Bent.

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He said: "I came off the bench against Morecambe and scored two and I should have had another two last week at Burnley when I came on as a substitute.

"So it was good that I was able to come off the bench this week and help the team win by three and me get two of them."

His second of the game, and 10th of the season, was down to the uncanny understanding between the teenage Darren duo.

Ambrose picked up a loose ball in his own half and almost instinctively played a 40-yard ball for Bent to run on to and control.

The youngster then showed terrific calmness to beat debut-making Jon Gould in a one-on-one encounter, by placing a low shot past him.

Bent said: "Even in training we are in the same team so it is only natural that we know each other's game. Whenever he gets the ball Darren finds me and it has worked again."

Ambrose has also got 10 goals and has weighed in with 10 assists.

The pair have been patient to play their part and the substitutions are proving deadly, especially in the last third of the game when their pace rips tiring teams apart.

But Bent is refusing to get too carried away as Town approach the play-off places.

"It is fantastic to be just two points off the play-off places but we are not looking too far ahead. We just want to keep winning as many games as possible."

Midfielder Tommy Miller believes cracking the 40-point barrier is a big psychological boost for Town but they are keeping their boots on the turf.

He said: "It is good to be in the top 10. We have been saying if we can get a run together then we will climb the table and other people will start taking notice of us.

"We are closing in on the top six and we are hoping the run continues and that will have the top teams looking over their shoulders."

The sticky pitch did not help Miller who is suffering from tendinitis behind a knee but seeing three goals go in after so many chances went begging last week was a boost.

Miller added: "It was a hard game and the pitch didn't help us as it was a bit bobbly and we didn't play particularly well but we have come through it.

"We missed a lot of chances last week, I missed a good one, but this week we have not had as many but we have stuck them away. Our third goal by Darren was superb."

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