Darren looks to end on a high note

AFTER a fairly traumatic season at Ipswich Town, Darren Bent is looking to go out on a high, writes Derek Davis.Despite the distractions of relegation, a sacked manager, administration, the sale of his best mate Darren Ambrose, the sad loss of Dale Roberts and a hamstring injury, Bent has beaten his target of 15 goals for the season.

AFTER a fairly traumatic season at Ipswich Town, Darren Bent is looking to go out on a high, writes Derek Davis.

Despite the distractions of relegation, a sacked manager, administration, the sale of his best mate Darren Ambrose, the sad loss of Dale Roberts and a hamstring injury, Bent has beaten his target of 15 goals for the season.

He admitted it has not always been easy and said: "It has been a funny old season and ended in disappointed with us not getting to the play-offs. But I nipped in to get 17 goals, which was more than my set target.

"I have tried my hardest to focus on each training session and each game but there have been difficult times. The worst period was when Dale passed away, for the whole club and for me in particular. It was hard because he had been a big influence in my career but I have tried to keep my mind straight to get through those tough times."

Another disruption for Bent came when George Burley was sacked at the end of September following a poor start to the season. But the England Under-21 international was quick to stand up for the man he looks forward to seeing tomorrow at Pride Park.

He said: "My view on George is no different now as it has always been. He is an excellent manager, he did a lot for me, giving me my chance at every level and starting me as a regular at the beginning of this season. I owe him a lot.

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"I won't have a bad word said against him he is a very good manager. It will be good to see him again and I'm sure he will soon have a good job, either in the First Division or the Premiership."

After missing four games with a slight tear in a hamstring, Bent returned last week to score Town's only goal after coming off the bench against Wimbledon.

He said: "The leg has not been giving me any trouble so hopefully I can play against Derby. I managed to score last week so I would love to get at least one and the team gets three points."

The highly-vaunted striker laughed at internet rumours this week which suggested he had signed for Newcastle United.

He said: "There is obviously no truth in that at all and nor have I any intention of signing for Newcastle. I'm an Ipswich Town player and I enjoy playing for Ipswich I would not want to play for anyone else at the moment. No one knows what will happen in the summer with anyone so we will all have to wait and see."

As well as making his 50th appearance for Town this season, Bent has also progressed to win an England Under-21 cap. Although still young he has experienced more in a season than some professionals do in a career and has shown no matter what is going on around him he can bang in the goals.

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