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.