Derby County coy on Darren Bent, but Brighton admit to interest

Derby County boss Steve McClaren is reluctant to be drawn on reported interest in Darren Bent, but Brighton & Hove Albion would like to get him back.

Darren Bent finds himself back at Aston Villa after seeing a productive loan spell at Brighton & Hove Albion come to a close.

Given his previous track record at Villa Park, the experienced striker should be expecting to slip into the shadows under Paul Lambert.

He will be eager to find another way out in January if possible, with there reported to be plenty of Championship interest in his services.

Bent is a proven Premier League goalscorer and showed during his time with Brighton that he can be a handful in the second-tier.

Derby County, pushing hard for promotion, are among those said to be keen, but the Rams boss Steve McClaren is keeping his transfer cards close to his chest.

He said in the Derby Telegraph: “I know there is speculation. If anything happens you will probably be about the fourth or fifth to know!

“I have said all along there are not a lot of players out there who can improve this team. What we need to do is may be improve the squad and get some competition, more competition for certain places. We will be looking at that but I am delighted with the squad.

“You have seen the bench (against Leeds United). We have brought on the likes of Simon Dawkins, Craig Bryson and Paul Coutts. We have got good players on the bench, and we’ve still got Jamie Ward to come back in, and Zak Whitbread.”

While Derby are reluctant to be drawn on a possible move for Bent, new Brighton boss Chris Hughton admits he would be keen on doing a deal if the former England international reaches the end of his contract and drops into the free agent pool.

He said: “He’s a quality player.

“He has gone back. There certainly would be interest in him, particularly with his contract position at Aston Villa (up in the summer). Of course, from our position here, he’s one that we’ll very much think about.”

Bent has spent the last 11 seasons in the Premier League with Charlton Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland, Villa and Fulham.

Given his strike rate down the years, it is surprising to find him still out of favour at Villa Park.

Lambert’s side are the lowest scorers in the top-flight, but the Scot does not fancy Bent and may well look to move him out when the transfer window re-opens.

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