Bent has had an instant impact since moving to the club earlier this month and showed his quality with an impressive brace, which was enough for the Rams to beat Blackburn Rovers earlier this week.
McClaren has revealed he laid the situation for Bent out on the line and he seems to be rising to the task.
“I had a good chat with Darren before he signed and said, this Derby team is a good team. Chris Martin is playing well, so he will have to fight to get in the side,” said the boss.
“He could have gone somewhere else and played every game and had an easy life but he wanted to come here. He wanted to contribute and make a difference.”
Bent is doing everything to get himself ahead of Martin in the pecking order but the best approach for McClaren could be to try a system, which is based around them playing together.
They are very different strikers with Bent more willing to press a defence while Martin seems to enjoy dropping off to pick up possession.
It will be interesting to see how Martin responds to Bent’s initial success, but it all bodes well for Derby’s aspirations of getting promoted back into the Premier League.
The challenge for the boss is how to prevent Bent from slipping into a complacent mindset.
He’s obviously very effective at Championship level and may feel as though he should be playing in the Premier League and McClaren can play on his desire to get back into the top flight and use it to the side’s advantage over the second half of the season.