Sheepshanks refutes Bent bid rumours

FRESH claims that Newcastle United were in for Darren Bent were last night dismissed as untrue by Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks.

FRESH claims that Newcastle United were in for Darren Bent were last night dismissed as untrue by Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, writes Derek Davis.

Reports claimed The Magpies were tabling a new bid for the England Under-21 international striker but they were categorically denied by both clubs.

Sheepshanks last night said: “There has been no new bid for Darren, and I would be very surprised if there were to be one.”

The EADT first reported Sir Bobby Robson's interest in Bent last year when the Geordies were also tracking Darren Ambrose.

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Bent rejected the opportunity to move north when Ambrose was reluctantly sold for a bargain £1.5m.

The 19-year-old, who finished just behind Pablo Counago as the club's leading scorer last season, told the EADT earlier this month he had no intentions of signing for Newcastle United and was quite happy to be playing regular first-team football at Portman Road.

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Sheepshanks last night confirmed the Blues were not looking to allow any of their young stars to leave.

He said: “While we can never guarantee young players like Darren will never be sold due to our position we have no intention of letting any of them go.

“On the contrary, Joe Royle is looking to build the team around these youngsters.”

The likes of Matt Richards, Dean Bowditch, Matt Bloomfield, Ian Westlake, Antonio Murray, Lewis Price, Aidan Collins, and Bent, who have all been involved with the first team, are not among the high wage earners which Ipswich are looking to move on.

Andy Marshall, Martijn Reuser, Alun Armstrong and Finidi George, are among the top-paid players who have been told they can leave on free transfers.

Former Town star Darren Ambrose faces stiff competition for a starting place at St James' Park as Robson looks to expand his squad to challenge in the Champions' League and ex-Blues boss George Burley has expressed in interest in taking the midfielder on a season-long loan when he is confirmed as the Derby County manager full time.

But I understand Robson is not interested in any long-term loan deal for Ambrose, who could still yet end up back at Portman Road on a temporary basis this coming season.

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