Bent: Short chat made big difference

Bent plundered his first hat-trick for the club as they ran out 4-0
winners to end their 14-game wait for a Premier League victory and
lift themselves six points clear of the relegation zone. It was
achieved with Short watching from the stands, after he had bumped
into manager Steve Bruce on the pitch beforehand and then visited
the players to pass on his best wishes ahead of what might have
otherwise been a crisis meeting today. Bent said: “He came into the
changing room before the game and said, ‘Hi, I’m Ellis Short’, and
I think a few of the players were cringing and thinking, ‘Crikey,
we had better do something tonight’. “But everyone went out there
and produced really, really well from back to front. We played as a
team, played like we were playing at the start of the season and we
got our rewards. “A lot of people had said, ‘Imagine if you lose or
if you don’t get the right result’, but to be fair, none of the
players in the changing room were thinking negatively. “We were
just thinking about going forward and getting the job done, and
luckily enough, we did.” Short, Bruce and chairman Niall Quinn sat
down to discuss the way forward today knowing there is still work
to be done this season with 10 games remaining, but more confident
that the desperate late scrap for survival of the last two
campaigns will be avoided this time around. It should be as long as
Bent continues to find the back of the net with such regularity. He
took his tally for the season to 19 with a well-executed treble
which secured a first league win since November 21. Fraizer
Campbell got the home side off to the perfect start, scoring his
first league goal for Sunderland inside the first minute, but it
was the former Tottenham man who took over after the break. His
64th-minute finish from Lee Cattermole’s pass killed off Bolton’s
fightback and when Sam Ricketts was set off for bundling Bent to
the ground 10 minutes later, the defender’s second cautionable
offence, he converted from the penalty spot. The third arrived two
minutes from time with Campbell the provider, but the margin of
victory for a team which had scored just two goals in its previous
six matches could have been even greater. Sections of the home
crowd urged England boss Fabio Capello not to overlook the
£10million man, a theme once again taken up by Bruce in his
post-match press conference. However, while Bent is keeping his
fingers crossed that he makes the plane for South Africa, he knows
the matter is largely out of his hands. He said: “It’s going to be
tough, but at the same time, I think there is only Wayne Rooney who
has scored more goals than me now in the England squad. “If I get
the selection, I will be delighted; if not, then I will just have
to move on.” Sunderland leapfrogged Bolton as a result of last
night’s win, although they head a group of four teams who remain
within striking distance of the current bottom four.