Golf video helps put Bent back on course
BELOW-par Marcus Bent has been given a golf video by Ipswich Town coaching staff to help the striker get back into full swing, writes Derek Davis.The Blues hit-man is unhappy at the way he has not reached his own exacting standards and is determined to work body and mind to put things right and get back in among the goals.
BELOW-par Marcus Bent has been given a golf video by Ipswich Town coaching staff to help the striker get back into full swing, writes Derek Davis.
The Blues hit-man is unhappy at the way he has not reached his own exacting standards and is determined to work body and mind to put things right and get back in among the goals.
While his fitness looks up to scratch, after a swift return from a groin operation, Bent accepts he has not found the sort of touch which saw him net 10 goals in 25 games for Town last season.
He was one of the players rollicked in private by Blues boss Joe Royle after Ipswich failed to turn superiority into goals, before being left short-handed and eventually beaten at Bradford City.
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Bent admitted: "That wasn't good enough by me and I know I have to do better. I will go into training this week and work as hard as I can.
"I'm trying to get my game back quickly. It has been difficult but I'm determined to put it right."
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As well as good old-fashioned sweat, Bent is prepared to try a psychological approach, after Willie Donachie and Tony Mowbray suggested a motivational tape starring a Hollywood actor.
Bent said: "Willie and Mogga gave me a golf video with Will Smith in it and it is about a golfer who lost his swing and it shows how he got it back.
"There are things in it which I believe can help me get my game back, things I can respond to. Concentration, belief and the such like."
Since coming back from his groin operation, Bent has lead the line well but in an effort to be seen to be working hard for the team he sometimes spends a lot of time chasing back, closing down and laying off passes instead of being at the sharp end, in the area looking to finish.
Bent admits things have not been easy and added: "It has been a hard year for me with the operation, and now not playing as well as I can, so I'm trying to put it right. I need to find the consistency so hopefully I can get some goals before the end of the season."
If there was any justice he could have had two penalties awarded in the past two games. At Sheffield United, keeper Wilko de Vogts took him out and at Bradford he was clearly tripped by Mark Bower, but the officials waved away both appeals.
A frustrated and furious Bent said: "It was a clear penalty again. That is the second week running now. Last week at Sheffield United I didn't make a fuss even though it was a definite penalty and everyone could see it was, but this time the whole stadium could see it was.
"The referee was diabolical, he gave a free-kick and didn't even know what it was for. He was a disgrace."
But Bent was not looking for excuses for his or the team's off-colour showing.
He added: "The defeat wasn't just down to the referee. Our performance was not good enough all around the park.
"The Gaffer said it starts from the front and we accept that. Pablo and I did not do well enough. There were not enough chances and perhaps if we had worked that bit harder something might have happened.
"It is not just us two, the whole team is to blame and we know we need to get it right quickly if we are to get into the Premiership."
After throwing away the points at Valley Parade, Bent knows a home victory against his former club Sheffield United, which will be his 50th Town appearance, is imperative.
He said: "No disrespect to Bradford, they are a young team in the main and they are not the best team in the world. They were not even as good as they were when they beat us at our place.
"These are the teams we have to beat but we didn't do it and that is three points dropped. Now we have to put it right against Sheffield United, the powerhouses as the Gaffer puts it.
"They lost to Millwall on Saturday so we know they will want to come back strong against us this weekend."
By refusing to adopt a bunker mentality, and showing plenty of drive, Bent will be looking to sink the Blades like a well-controlled putt.