Harding warns colleagues about Bent

By Derek DavisChief Football WriterYOUNG Brighton defender Daniel Harding has seen, at close quarters, how devastating Blues striker Darren Bent can be.

By Derek Davis

Chief Football Writer

YOUNG Brighton defender Daniel Harding has seen, at close quarters, how devastating Blues striker Darren Bent can be.

Harding made his debut for England Under-21s at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium, when he went on at half-time in place of Ipswich's Matt Richards.

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Bent scored his usual goal in that win and Harding has warned his Albion team-mates what to expect.

He said: “Darren has been doing brilliantly this year, scoring for Ipswich and coming off the bench for the Under-21s and scoring some really important goals.

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“He is up against Danny Cullip and, hopefully, Danny can shut him out. Danny, Guy Butters and Adam Hinshelwood come up against players like Darren all the time. If you give him a sniff, he will score a goal but, hopefully, that won't happen against us.”

Skipper Cullip will be available again after his one-match suspension and manager Mark McGhee is delighted to have the 28-year-old back.

He warned: “We're looking forward to seeing Danny back and playing the way he did against West Ham, where he was an integral part of a strong defensive display.”

Alexis Nicolas is also available, despite carrying a niggling ankle injury. The Cyprus Under-21 player is likely to form part of a five-man midfield, designed to make the Seagulls difficult to penetrate

McGhee said: “I think that's got to be our tactic in every game, home or away. We did it on Saturday and were unlucky to lose and I think, had Adam Virgo or Danny played, we would have won the game.

“We'll go to Ipswich and make ourselves difficult to beat.We need an average of one point a game, more or less, to stay in this division, so if we make ourselves difficult to beat we'll get a few draws and a few wins along the way and, hopefully, we'll get enough.”

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