Tim Sherwood expects Randy Lerner's backing over Darren Bent's Aston Villa future

The striker's contract is up this summer but a Villa Park return could still be on the cards.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has refused to rule out re-signing Darren Bent, telling the club’s official website that “the door is not shut” on a return.

Bent, 31, is out of contract this summer and endured a torrid time at Villa Park under former boss Paul Lambert, who he has been vocal in his criticism of after being pushed out of the first-team picture.

The ex-England striker spent last season on loan at Fulham, where he scored just six times in 30 games, and failed to make a Premier League start this term before taking in further temporary spells at Brighton & Hove Albion and Derby County, respectively.

However, having hit 12 goals in 17 appearances during his four-month stint with the Rams and, with Sherwood since replacing Lambert at the helm, the club’s record-signing could still have a Villa future.

Bent and Sherwood both worked together at Tottenham Hotspur for a brief period before the forward moved on to Sunderland and, according to the Birmingham Mail, initial discussions over a new deal are now said to have taken place between the pair.

The former Spurs man has not returned to Villa to train during the final weeks of the campaign but further talks are planned over the coming month and, what’s more, Sherwood is adamant that owner Randy Lerner will let him make the final decision.

Speaking ahead of the weekend’s clash with West Ham United, the Villa boss said: "The way the conversation with Randy Lerner will probably go is: 'I think we need another striker and I know this boy and he is available. Do we take a gamble on someone else or do we bring him back?'

"That's my decision and I'm sure Randy will say: 'that's what you get paid for, that's your decision.

"There's a decision to be made over him but I can do that over a four-year memory period at Tottenham,” he added. "He's a good lad. If you look at his goalscoring record it is right up there with anyone. He respects the fact we treat him like a man.

"He knows our style of management. It's not them and us. They have to realise I'm the boss but in the end I treat him like a man and be honest.

"He's certainly someone who will be considered. The door is not shut on him certainly. He knows me and he knows he will get chances to score goals.

“I will have a chat with him but we need to stay in the Premier League.”

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