Bent hopes to be sharp-shooter

Bent has resumed training after missing the last two games with a
thigh problem and is expected to return to action in Monday’s
Premier League clash at Stoke. He angered some fans by going
shopping during the latter stages of the Liverpool game on Sunday.
But the striker has since apologised for upsetting any supporters
and now has his thoughts on boosting his goal tally. The
27-year-old scored nine goals in 16 games last season after his
£18million move from Sunderland – an average of one every 1.77
matches. But he has been on target five times in 14 appearances
during the current campaign – a ratio of one every 2.8 games. Bent
said: “Throughout my career, I’ve always maintained a one-in-two
ratio and at the moment it’s virtually one every three games this
season. “I could easily be in double figures and had numerous
chances this season but for some reason it just hasn’t been
happening. “But all it takes is a goal here and there and things
will kick back into place. “As long as the chances keep coming, I’m
confident I can score regularly.” Bent missed out on selection for
the 2006 and 2010 World Cups while England did not qualify for Euro
2008. He has become a regular part of the side during 2012 after a
run of four goals in five internationals but is taking nothing for
granted. Bent said: “I’d love to be part of a major tournament with
England but I never take anything for granted or count my chickens.
“I suppose I’m like that because a lot has happened to me with
England squads. “I missed out on the 2006 and 2010 World Cups after
being in contention beforehand. “But I just hope I do myself
justice, play well for Villa, and keep hold of the shirt and stay
part of the squad.” Villa boss Alex McLeish confirmed he expects
Bent to be available for the trip to the Britannia Stadium. He
said: “Darren looked sharp in training and I don’t see any reason
why he won’t be involved on Monday.” McLeish is aware of the lift a
win at Stoke would have on his players who produced a
vastly-improved performance when beaten 2-1 at home by Arsenal in
midweek. He said: “It is a big challenge and a tough place to go
but if it’s one we can win, then the confidence would soar through
the roof. “The good thing was our approach against Arsenal. I felt
in a couple of the recent games against the elite clubs, the
players were a wee bit intimidated. “Against Arsenal, they let the
shackles off. It’s a lot to do with the mentality.”