Darren Bent was quick to praise the old enemy after his double ended Norwich City’s resistance at Villa Park.

Bent struck just minutes after Anthony Pilkington had put City ahead and then put the game beyond the visitors’ reach with a second just past the hour mark, with Steve Morison’s late effort failing to prompt the sort of comeback that earned a point from a similar situation against Blackburn a week earlier.

City’s travelling fans gave Bent the expected greeting, but the former Ipswich man, who spent four years at Portman Road having come through the youth ranks, had the final word.

“I thought the team played really well,” he said. “Norwich have come up and they have surprised a few people with the way they have played and how adventurous they are.

“It is fairly similar to when Blackpool when they first came up. They didn’t care who they played, they had a go, and Norwich are the same and did themselves credit, but we were just too good.”

Bent’s goal sandwiched one from the other thorn in City’s side, Gabriel Agbonlahor, who pounced on a poor back pass from Leon Barnett early in the second half.

“He has been brilliant all season,” said Bent. “He has got the pace and the power and he seems a lot more confident this season than he did last season and fair credit to him.

“He’s gone away, he’s worked hard, and it’s paying dividends this season, he is scoring goals, he is playing well.

“He plays in the middle, he can drift to the left, when you’ve got someone with that amount of pace it is a dangerous weapon to have.

“To be fair, Gabby is using it to the best of his ability.”

It was Agbonlahor’s pace that left City right-back Kyle Naughton struggling on Saturday, but Bent says he won’t be the only ‘victim’.

“No-one on the planet - unless you are rapid yourself,” he said. “The biggest thing people want in this game is pace and he has got it in abundance. He can unlock doors other people can’t open and it is a fantastic weapon to have in the team.”

Bent’s double took his tally to 46 since the start of the 2009-2010 season - more than any other player.

“I’ve still got a few achievements I’d like to achieve, like 100 Premier League goals,” he said. “I’m only four away. Hopefully that is not too far away.

“Not too many people have done that and it is something I’ve dreamt about since I stepped into the Premier League with Charlton.

“That was an actual goal, to get into that 100 Premier League club because I’ve seen some of the best strikers in the world get into that 100 club.”