Ipswich Town midfielder Darren Ambrose surprised Darren Bent is not playing Premier League football with Aston Villa

Darren Bent in his Ipswich Town days

Darren Bent in his Ipswich Town days

Ipswich Town midfielder Darren Ambrose is surprised that close friend Darren Bent is playing Championship football.

Talisman Bent is set for his first return to Portman Road with new club Derby County today, but Ambrose, who formed a deadly partnership growing up alongside Bent through Town’s ranks, is shocked that the proven goalscorer is playing in England’s second tier.

Under contract at Aston Villa until the end of the season, Bent, who has scored more than 100 Premier League goals, has been deemed expendable by manager Paul Lambert at Villa Park this season, leading to loan spells at Championship duo Brighton & Hove Albion and Derby County, something that puzzles Ambrose.

“I am surprised (that Villa aren’t using Bent),” admitted Ambrose.

“They haven’t scored that many and one thing he has got is goals, and he’s always going to have goals, he showed that when he went to Brighton (two goals in five league appearances).

“It was a bit surprising but the same thing happened with me – managers have their plans and he wasn’t part of them and that happens in football.”

Villa have scored a paltry 11 goals in their 20 Premier League games so far this season, making them the league’s lowest scorers by quite some distance – Burnley are the second lowest scorers (17).

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Ambrose. who has been in contact with Bent ahead of today’s big game between two promotion contenders, added: “Similar to me, he wanted to rediscover the love for football and that’s why he’s moved to Brighton, and now Derby, and hopefully it works out for him, apart from Saturday.”

The dynamic midfielder also hinted that he would love to pair up with Bent on the pitch in the future, potentially at Ipswich.

“He is a fantastic player,” added Ambrose. “We’ve got that understanding with each other so I’m sure that won’t change.

“You never know what’s going to happen in the future, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day.

“I haven’t discussed that with him (a potential future move back to Ipswich). You never know, he loved the place like I did, one day it might happen.”

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