Bent's future doesn't hang on play-offs

IPSWICH striker Darren Bent insists failure in the play-offs will not necessarily signal his exit from Portman Road.Bent will be seeking his 20th goal of the season when Town take on West Ham at Upton Park today, kick-off 12.

IPSWICH striker Darren Bent insists failure in the play-offs will not necessarily signal his exit from Portman Road.

Bent will be seeking his 20th goal of the season when Town take on West Ham at Upton Park today, kick-off 12.15pm.

The England Under-21 international said: “More than anything else I want to help Ipswich to return to the Premiership.

“But if it doesn't happen this year I'm not saying I will definitely be on my way. I still have another year of my contract to run.


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“I was asked about it recently and I said I would have to sit down, consider my options and decide what would be best for Darren Bent.

“That doesn't mean leaving, but everyone seems to think I'll be on my way if we don't go up this year.”

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Some people are clearly jumping the gun, thinking hard-up Ipswich might want to cash in on Bent, or that the player will be reluctant to play another season at Championship level.

Ipswich turned down £3m from Charlton last summer and the London club are thought to retain an interest in the speedy striker.

Bent added: “I have never said that I will leave if we don't go up. If Ipswich received an offer that they wanted to accept, it would have to be right for me to agree.

“I hope the situation doesn't even arise. I'm thinking 'Let's beat West Ham, win the final in Cardiff and get into the Premiership' then it's sorted anyway.”

Bent is anxious that Town fans are put fully in the picture and went on: “I don't want anyone questioning my commitment and thinking I can't wait to move on.

“I'm a striker and my job is to score goals. I was top scorer last season and I'm level with Shefki (Kuqi) at the moment. What more do they want in the way of proof?”

Bent is looking forward to today's game as a means of making up for the disappointment suffered at the same East London venue a year ago.

He said: “I scored in the first leg at our place but then I missed a good early chance in the return at Upton Park.

“That was a horrible night for everyone connected with Ipswich. The manager said a few young players froze a bit and he's right - I was one of them.

"You see the play-offs on television and it all looks very exciting, but when I had my first experience last year I didn't really know what to expect.

“I'm a year older now and it won't surprise me. I can't wait to get out there and I intend to enjoy the occasion this time.

“It's a good football ground, with the fans close to the pitch, and I think it will be a tight game with few goals. We're confident as a team that we can do it.”

London-born Bent won't even have to risk upsetting his grandfather, a lifelong Hammers' fan, if he helps Ipswich to victory over the two games.

“My grandad, Vince, is a West Ham supporter,” he said. “But he rang me the other night and said “First and foremost I'm a Darren Bent fan”.

“He said he won't mind West Ham losing if it helps his grandson out and that'll do me!”

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