Bent confident goals will flow

20 August 2010 01:20
Darren Bent has no fears that he will be hit by 'second season syndrome' as he attempts to build on his superb start at Sunderland.

The 26-year-old fired himself into contention for a place in England's World Cup finals squad with a 25-goal haul after completing a £10million switch to the Stadium of Light last summer, only to be omitted from Fabio Capello's final 23.

Missing out on a second successive chance to appear on the world stage still hurts the former Ipswich, Charlton and Tottenham frontman, but he is ready to channel his frustration into terrorising Barclays Premier League defences once again.

Bent is sure to be paid even more attention this time around after his exploits last season, but he is confident the goals will flow once again after getting off the mark at the first attempt in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Birmingham.

He said: "I remember when I first went to Charlton, my first season in the Premier League, and I scored 22, people were talking about, 'Can he do it the second season?', and I managed to do it that second season.

"I went to Spurs and it didn't really happen, but I still scored goals even there.

"But the thing is, I am a seasoned pro now and all I have got to keep doing is working hard and hopefully the chances will come."

Bent will go into battle with promoted West Brom at the Hawthorns tomorrow expecting to be paid close attention, but happy to take on the challenge for the team's cause.

He said: "If they put two people on me or mark me extra tightly, it's definitely going to free up some space for Fraizer [Campbell] or Danny [Welbeck] or one of the midfield players to get a chance.

"If that's the case, then I am still helping the team out."

Sunderland will head for the Midlands to face a Baggies side still smarting from last week's 6-0 drubbing by champions Chelsea as they were given the rudest of welcomes back to the top flight.

However, manager Steve Bruce has left his players in little doubt that they should ignore that result, and he does not have to look very far for evidence to back up his argument.

In November last year, the Wearsiders travelled to Wigan six days after the Latics had been trounced 9-1 at Tottenham, and returned on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline.

Bruce said: "I take no notice of them losing at Chelsea, it won't matter a jot because we are all capable of losing down there.

"I know how difficult it will be to go and play against them, their first home game back in the Premier League.

"The crowd will get behind them, they will want to have a good performance and they will be targeting the game, like we are, as one they can get something from.

"West Bromwich Albion have proved over the last five, six, seven years that they are capable of beating teams on their home turf, so it will be difficult."

Bruce will have to make changes with skipper Lee Cattermole suspended as a result of his red card against Birmingham and John Mensah set to miss several weeks with a hamstring injury.

However, the manager was able field new signings Simon Mignolet, Nedum Onuoha, Titus Bramble, Ahmed Elmohamady, Cristian Riveros and Welbeck last weekend and while he knows it will take time for the likes of Elmohamady and Riveros in particular to settle in, he is happy with the business he has done to date.

He said: "I was delighted with what I saw last week, the way the team shaped up. There's a youthfulness about us and a youthful exuberance that goes with it."

Source: Team_Talk