Shefki's not going it alone

SHEFKI Kuqi fired Town top of the table but immediately dismissed suggestions that he wanted to be top scorer at the expense of strike partner Darren Bent.

By Derek Davis

SHEFKI Kuqi fired Town top of the table but immediately dismissed suggestions that he wanted to be top scorer at the expense of strike partner Darren Bent.

Kuqi hit his ninth goal of the season to help Blues overhaul Wigan at the top of the Championship but went for a 10th when England Under-21 hit-man Bent was much better positioned.

The Finland international admitted he knew his partner was well-placed and made an error of judgement in going for a second stab at goal, from an absurdly tight angle, after Brighton keeper Michel Kuipers had saved his initial effort.


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Kuqi said: “I was going to pull it back from the rebound but I hit it with my left, which was a mistake, really.

“Darren and I want to be the top scoring partnership in this division. There is no way I'm going to start thinking, 'I'm not going to pass to him because he has got eight and I have nine and he will catch me' - that is not the way it is at all.”

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With Bent on eight goals - he had one originally awarded to him the last time Town went top against Wolves but it was later given as an own goal by Lee Naylor - the duo have a healthy 17 goals between them.

Now, after overtaking Wigan in the league, they are aiming to top the Latics strike partnership of Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts, who have 21 goals between them.

Kuqi said: “We are both scoring good goals and trying to set each other up. He played a lovely ball in for me first half, which I almost got to, but the keeper saved. We know each other well and want to be the best.”

The Finn netted midway through the first half when an Ian Westlake shot was blocked and fell to the striker, who dinked it over Kuipers for his first goal in four games.

He said: “It is always good to score, I had gone three games without a goal and I needed to score again, so I'm glad I did. I might have had more but the keeper made some good saves.”

All week the Blues players have been angry at missing their chance to go top last Sunday at Sunderland, and were determined to make up for it.

Kuqi added: “The main thing after the disappointment of Sunderland was to win the game.

“We did that, we have gone top and, although we could have scored more goals, we did well.

“We are now in a great position and we know that.

“We are going to lose games, we know that no one is going to go the rest of the season without losing, but we got over last week and had a good week's training.

“The important thing now is get on another run and see where that takes us.”

Blues' skipper Jim Magilton played with a sore big toe after being accidentally stepped on by Kuqi in training, but no fresh injuries were reported ahead of Town's trip to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

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