Bent worth £20 million

DARREN Bent's goals could be worth £20million.That's the belief of the two team-mates who made Bent's goals in Ipswich's 3-2 win over weekend guests Coventry City.

DARREN Bent's goals could be worth £20million.

That's the belief of the two team-mates who made Bent's goals in Ipswich's 3-2 win over weekend guests Coventry City.

The 21-year-old, who took his goal tally to 13, could earn the Blues promotion to the Premiership - and an estimated £20million windfall - insist his playing colleagues.

Bent is now on the same number of goals as Shefki Kuqi, who scored the winner in Town's latest Coca-Cola Championship success.

Skipper Jim Magilton, who set-up Bent's second goal, sees a big future for the England Under-21 international.

“He had gone five games without finding the net but he showed his character on Saturday,” said Magilton.

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“He is a great lad, he can get us to the Premiership and he will do well at the top level. He is a real handful to defences and he took his second goal fantastically well.

“The first goal gave him extra confidence and I am delighted for him. It was our strikers who won us the game.”

Experienced defender Fabian Wilnis, who crossed for Bent's first goal, added: “Darren has the potential to become one of the best strikers in the Premiership.

“He supplied a perfect finish for his first goal and then his pace enabled him to convert a brilliant second.

“Even when he is not scoring, Darren is a big asset to the team as along with Shefki Kuqi he works so hard up front.

“They help to keep us going when the chips are down and we owe them for our latest win.”

Bent, who is expected to stay at Portman Road during the transfer window, was the subject of a £3million bid by Charlton last August.

This was turned down, although his two latest goals will ensure that top clubs keep tabs on him.

Bent's first goal transformed the match and he said: “The three points are more important than two goals for me. The manager did not say anything to me about giving me a rest.

“He told me to keep getting into the right positions and that the goals would come.

“A massive weight was removed from my shoulders when the first goal hit the back of the net and it perked me up.

“I grew up with Coventry keeper Luke Steele and had a few words with him after the match.”

n Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy admitted the fear of failing to keep pace with Ipswich and Wigan provided the motivation for his side's 2-0 Coca-Cola Championship victory at Derby.

Stephen Elliott and Dean Whitehead struck second-half goals to secure victory for a Sunderland side who had collected four points from their four previous matches.

Defeat for the Black Cats would have raised the prospect of a two-horse race emerging between Ipswich and Wigan.

The former Republic of Ireland boss said: “I said to the players about it before the game, but they were aware of it.

“They've seen the league and I thought it was worth highlighting the fact that we were eight and five points behind.

“It's nice to be five and two again and I thought we deserved to win.

“It was a very open game - probably too open for my liking - but in the second half I think we dominated.”

McCarthy believes the promotion-chasing sides will continue to beat one another and “cut each other's throats” during the promotion run-in, which sees Sunderland face a clutch of their promotion rivals.

“There's no question about that,” added the Sunderland chief. “If we had lost this weekend we would have been eight and five points behind and you just wonder what might happen then.

“But we are still on their tails now and they will be looking from behind and wondering about us. It will be a great finish to the season.

“We've got Ipswich, Wigan, West Ham and Reading all in the last few weeks of the season.

“There will be a few bums twitching somewhere along the line in all parts of the country then - there usually is.

“Somebody said to me that it's a difficult finish, but you've got to play teams that are scrapping relegation and that's difficult.”

“At least it's the same pressure for them,” added McCarthy.