Sheffield United signing Bent ready to go
New Sheffield United signing Marcus Bent hopes to kick off his second spell at Bramall Lane against Norwich City on Saturday – and despite his lack of action, he has promised to swim rather than sink.
Tuesday saw the former Ipswich striker, 32, complete a loan move from Premier League side Birmingham City until the end of the season. And although the experienced forward has played just three minutes of first team football since the end of October, Bent is keen to get to work for the relegation-threatened Blades – starting with the visit of high- flying City this weekend.
“Hopefully I’ll be involved against Norwich,” Bent said. “Throw me in. I can swim. I’ve not played for a while so I need to get match sharpness but I’m naturally fit.”
Bent spent little more than a year at United after signing from Port Vale in October 1999 – he was sent off playing for the Blades at Carrow Road – and 56 appearances and 24 goals later he was heading to Blackburn in a �2.1m deal. The striker then spent two seasons at Portman Road soon but has struggled to settle down since, with United being his ninth club in seven seasons.
Norwich beat United 4-2 in a feisty affair at Carrow Road between Christmas and New Year – in which Stephen Quinn was sent off and both sides were fined after an FA charge of “mass confrontation” late on.
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Since their last meeting caretaker manager John Carver – who was particularly annoyed by some of that afternoon’s decisions – has been replaced by long-term replacement, former Fulham and Leicester City boss Micky Adams.
City are, of course, hoping to maintain a promotion challenge that has seen them two points off the automatic promotion places and having lost just twice on the road in the Championship this season. The task for Adams and United is somewhat different, ensuring they turn their current plight – 21st in the table with seven wins from 26 games – into mid-table security. And Bent aims to do his best to make that happen.
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“This is a huge club that’s shown it can get promoted,” said Bent, who played under Adams at Leicester.
“First things first, though, we need to get out of trouble. I’ve not come in as a daddy-type figure but I’ve changed a lot as a person and a player (since his last spell at United). Sometimes you can see in the body language of the younger lads that they might need a bit of encouragement.
“If I spot that then I can put an arm around them. They might not want it but the offer will be there.
“I’ve walked into a dressing room that is together, upbeat, but of course with a few nerves around it. But we can get out of this. I know what hard work and determination can do.”
Bent will have competition on his hands in trying to make his ‘debut’ against City on Saturday, with Richard Cresswell, Daniel Bogdanovic and former Norwich loanee Ched Evans all in contention – but Darius Henderson is still recovering from a tendon injury.
“The move really is exciting,” Bent added. “When I left the first time I went out on to the pitch I felt quite sad. This was the first place where I’d really felt at home.”