herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Given backs Bent to find the goal for Villa again

SHAY Given is backing Aston Villa’s record signing Darren Bent to rediscover his scoring touch sooner rather than later ahead of tonight’s Carling Cup clash with Bolton at Villa Park.

Bent has netted only once in six games this season and spurned two gilt-edged chances during Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Newcastle.

It is in contrast to last season when the England striker netted nine times in 16 games after his £18m move from Sunderland and he has also been hampered by a groin injury.

Given said: ”We got into the final third on numerous occasions against Newcastle but just didn’t have the composure when we got there.

“People say that Darren can’t buy a goal at the moment but it will come. We know the quality he has.

“He’s just got to keep believing in himself. Strikers sort of thrive on confidence.

“If Darren can get a goal, I’m sure it will kick-start his season.”

Given is hoping a Villa win this evening will help them achieve the momentum needed to turn a series of draws into victories when they return to Premier League action.

Pluses

He said: “It felt like we lost on Saturday but we are still unbeaten in the league and we will take the pluses from that as well into the cup game.

“We will take the Carling Cup seriously, for sure. It’s one of our best chances of picking up a trophy.

“Bolton are always a tough side. We know what to expect from them. Owen Coyle has done a fantastic job there and they are a big strong team.

“But hopefully we can win the game and kick-start a few victories for the rest of the Premier league.”

Given is delighted to be back playing on a regular basis after a frustrating spell at Manchester City and is already a favourite with the Villa fans.

He said: “I’m trying. It’s a new set of fans to try and impress.

“I’ve always said I’ll do most of my talking on the pitch and they can make their own mind up.”

In addition to Bent, Villa boss Alex McLeish will check on the fitness of defender Stephen Warnock (hip) and skipper Stiliyan Petrov (ankle) before finalising his side.

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