Aston Villa's surprise U-turn on forgotten man Bent

The Derby loanee has revealed fresh contract talks with the Premier League club and the much-travelled striker now has a decision to make in the summer.

Bent's Villa career looked over after the club's record signing was shipped out on loan by Paul Lambert, to Fulham last season and then Brighton and Derby this campaign.

With the 31-year-old's Villa contract expiring in the summer the ex-England striker had naturally opened thoughts of continuing his career at Derby long term, where he has enjoyed a successful loan spell scoring seven goals in 11 appearances, before a recent injury.

Fit-again Bent's fate may well rest on where his current and parent club end up this season - Villa lay just three points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone while Derby are still chasing automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship - but Bent this week revealed contract talks with Villa that appeared unlikely a few weeks ago.

Talking to Telegraph Sport, Bent said: “There have been conversations with Villa regarding the future and I need to have a think about things in the summer. I’m not ruling out going back, just like I wouldn’t rule out staying at Derby because they have given me a lifeline to play football and score goals again. But yes, there’s been discussions [with Villa] and we will have to look at it."

Back at Villa Park, new manager Tim Sherwood has bemoaned Bent's absence this week, although he stopped short of talking about anything more advanced than the end of this season. Speaking to the Birmingham Mail Sherwood said:  "He’s a goalscorer and if he gets chances he will score. I’d like to have him here now, put it that way. You can’t have enough goalscorers in your building." 

Given that Sherwood and Bent know each other from their time together at Tottenham, it would seem that Bent's career at Villa may have some life left in it, but his future will be very much dictated by the next few weeks.  

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