Bent loan can be catalyst for Brighton to climb Championship
Darren Bent has joined Championship strugglers Brighton and Hove Albion, 8/1 with Coral to be relegated, on an initial month’s loan, having been unable to get starts under Paul Lambert at Aston Villa.
Letting the 30-year-old leave the West Midlands when Villa are short of striking options in the absence of banned Christian Benteke and Czech frontman Libor Kozak, who is recovering from a broken leg, is bold.
Sami Hyypia’s Seagulls, meanwhile, sit outside the Championship relegation zone only by virtue of goal difference. While they are by no means the lowest scorers in the second tier, their strikers have been struggling to find the net.
Highly-rated Albion defender Lewis Dunk remains the south coast club’s top scorer across all competitions with five. Summer signings Sam Baldock and Adrian Colunga have scored four between them, while Craig Mackail-Smith has one league strike to his name.
Bent, who scored four times in 13 caps for England, represents a significant upgrade on those attacking options. “I hope he will score plenty of goals for us during his time with us,” said Brighton boss Hyypia, who has to rely on set piece threat Dunk, plus midfield and wide players chipping in.
“He also wants to play regular games and that is evident in his willingness to step down from the Premier League to the Championship. His record speaks for itself. He is a top-class striker with more than 100 Premier League goals.”
Struggles for the Seagulls this term follow two campaigns of top six finishes, but on both occasions they were beaten in the play-off semi-finals. They have amassed just 18 points after as many matches, which is why they are hovering above the bottom three.
Proven scorer Bent has always been prolific when receiving regular football, and he can expect that over the next month at Albion.
In other Championship news, 7/2 promotion hopefuls Watford have landed Crystal Palace’s Algeria international midfielder Adlene Guedioura on loan until January.
Thereafter, the combative midfield player, who was a fan favourite at former club Nottingham Forest, is likely to go to the Africa Cup of Nations with his country.