Bentley rolls in for Rovers return
Fri, 15 Feb 2013 16:10:00
Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels has revealed Ipswich are the latest club to approach out-of-contract goalkeeper Cammy Bell.
Bell is also a target for Rangers but Shiels claims Ibrox manager Ally McCoist faces competition from the Championship outfit and others.
Bell said earlier this week that he had yet to make a decision on where he would be playing his football next season.
Now his manager insists he will offer his own advice in the coming weeks in the hope of keeping the player with the Ayrshire outfit.
Shiels said: "Ipswich Town are in for him and there other clubs that have made approaches from England.
"I will sit down with him, maybe in March, and we'll have a wee discussion about what he feels is the best way forward for his career.
"I will give him my advice and he will make his decision from there. What will I tell him? That's personal between me and him but hopefully it is good advice.
"Wherever he goes to, he will be first choice. There is no doubt about that."
If Bell does depart, he will follow Liam Kelly, Michael Nelson and Gary Harkins out of Rugby Park after their January exits.
Shiels resisted the urge to take the option utilised by Saturday's SPL opponents Hearts - who they face at Tynecastle hoping to extend an impressive run which has seen just two defeats in their last 11 games - and bring in loan signings.
Instead he has put his faith in the club's youngsters such as Ross Barbour and Mark O'Hara and believes the Scottish Football Association must force other teams to do the same for the good of the national team.
He said: "I'm not going to say anything bad about Hearts. The players they have brought in on loan - Danny Wilson and Michael Ngoo - are high earners and established players. They have had a major impact so far.
"But please believe me, to avail of that is not a crime. I fully support John McGlynn in what he has done. He's had a lot of hits this year and has brought through kids.
"I used two loan signings to get to the League Cup final last year and I feel a little bit guilty about that because Ben Gordon, a loan signing played, and Rory McKeown, a development player, didn't.
"But I've moved away from that now and Kilmarnock are now the model way and the correct way to do things. We grow our own and don't use the loan system and I feel good about that.
"We must do things to benefit Gordon Strachan. So should the SFA put restrictions on the number of loans? Yep. I'd totally agree with that. There has to be a restriction. It should be reduced considerably."
Kilmarnock visited Inverness on Wednesday night but their 1-1 draw was watched by a crowd of just 2,529.
That figure drew a spiky response from Caley Thistle boss Terry Butcher, who suggested the city does not "deserve" a club aiming for Europe.
Shiels, though, insists attendance figures in this country are nothing to be ashamed of.
"If you look at the population of Scotland, our game is a very well supported product," he said.
"What would any other sport in Scotland not give for the amount of people who go to watch football?
"Two and a half-thousand on a Wednesday night with Champions League on the television - that's a very good crowd. Did you see the snow? You wouldn't believe it.
"You have to look at the societal changes that have gone on. In days gone by a cup of tea was a novelty. Now we are in the computer age. That is why the crowds have gone down.
"We are doing great in Scotland. What's the crowds in Finland? There's five million population there. Go look up their crowds. They are not great."
The Toronto-born midfielder penned the new long-term contract just 24 hours after defender Chris Hegarty agreed to extend his stay at Ibrox.
Aird, who turned 18 earlier this month, made his senior debut as a substitute in the 4-1 win over Montrose in September.
His first goal for the Light Blues was the late winner against Queens Park in a 1-0 win at Hampden in December.
Bentley left Rovers to join Spurs in a ?17million deal in 2008, but despite finding success initially, the midfielder soon fell out of favour at the north London club.
Bentley has spent the last two years on loan at West Ham, Birmingham and Russian side Rostov and has not played for his parent club since November 2010.
Andre Villas-Boas made it clear that the 28-year-old is not part of his plans for the rest of the season so he has decided to let the player re-join the club where he enjoyed the most successful years of his career.
Bentley joined the Lancashire club from Arsenal in 2005 and helped them qualify for the UEFA Cup the following season.
The winger went on to earn his first of seven England caps in 2007. He was hailed as the 'new David Beckham' and Spurs broke their transfer record to sign the player five years ago.
He soon fell down the pecking order at White Hart Lane, despite a memorable long-range strike against the club's bitter rivals Arsenal in October 2008.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of his time at Spurs was when he soaked Harry Redknapp during a TV interview shortly after the team had qualified for the Champions League at Manchester City.
Rovers have confirmed that Bentley, who will the squad number 35, is eligible to play in tomorrow's FA Cup quarter-final clash against Arsenal.