Bruce boosted by buoyant Bent

BY foxsports • March 24, 2010

Bent, 26, scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season in Saturday's 3-1 Premier League victory over Birmingham to further justify his £10million transfer fee. Twenty of those goals have come in the league - the first time Bent has reached that mark in his career - and with eight games to go - including Wednesday night's trip to Aston Villa - he could significantly add to that tally before Capello finalises his squad for South Africa. Bruce said: "It can only be good news for us. His scoring rate has been pretty remarkable when you think of the winter we have had. He has still been able to score goals. "It's been fantastic to see." Bruce has repeatedly championed Bent's cause and is keeping everything crossed for a man he believes deserves his chance. He added: "I hope for the kid that he goes. He's had a wonderful return for us. He's a goalscorer. "We don't know how many strikers Mr Capello is taking, will it be four or will it be five? But he has got to be in with a chance." If Bent's heroics at one end of the pitch have played a major part in Sunderland's climb away from relegation trouble, his contribution has been matched at the other by that of Craig Gordon. The Scotland international cost former boss Roy Keane a British record £9million for a goalkeeper when he joined from Hearts in August 2007, but has suffered a frustrating time on Wearside with injuries preventing him from proving his worth on a sustained basis. However, he turned in superb individual displays against Manchester City and Birmingham to leave Bruce delighted with both him and goalkeeping coach Nigel Spink. Bruce said: "Nigel Spink has done very, very well with him. He has tried to breathe a bit of confidence into him. "He was playing very well before he broke his arm at Tottenham and then he showed a bit of strength of character because to get over a broken arm when you are a goalkeeper is a big, big thing. "Now he is realising he is enjoying his football. The last two games in particular he has played wonderfully well." Skipper Lorik Cana is available after completing a two-match-ban, while Bruce hopes to be able to call upon Kenwyne Jones and John Mensah after injury.

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