Jim jokes with Dowie over Bent sale

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton today joked with Charlton counterpart Iain Dowie: “When are you going to sell Darren Bent?”The pair, both former Northern Ireland internationals, are good friends and the Town chief was quick to point out: “It was all tongue in cheek - nothing more than a bit of banter between pals.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton today joked with Charlton counterpart Iain Dowie: “When are you going to sell Darren Bent?”

The pair, both former Northern Ireland internationals, are good friends and the Town chief was quick to point out: “It was all tongue in cheek - nothing more than a bit of banter between pals.

“Iain rang and left a message for me to get back to him. When I returned the call I said 'Have you sold him yet?' and he knew exactly what I meant.”

Bent made the switch from Portman Road last summer for an initial £2.5million and Town will pocket a 20 per cent cut of the profit if and when he moves on.

After a terrific first season in the Premiership, when he was the top-scoring Englishman, his value has soared to around £7m and Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester City have all been linked with him.

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But Dowie, only recently installed at The Valley after quitting Crystal Palace, is understandably reluctant to sell a player who contributed 22 goals last term.

Magilton added: “I'm not denying it would be good for this club if Darren moved on. I could always do with a bit more spending money.

“But it is entirely Charlton's business and I wasn't trying to influence things in any way when I spoke to Iain. We just had a chat and a laugh, as we always do.

“Having said that, we all know that every player has his price and you never know what's going to happen in football. We'll just have to wait and see if there are any developments on that front.”

Meanwhile, after spending yesterday at RAF Wattisham with his players, Magilton is turning his attention to Saturday's first pre-season game at Boston.

He said: “Every place is up for grabs and I want the players to be in a competitive frame of mind. Their attitude and commitment has been absolutely terrific since day one.

“Everybody is taking the message on board and some players are coming through the pack - youngsters like James Krause and Chris Casement have really impressed me.

“Pre-season games serve a purpose in terms of match fitness and after Boston they will be coming thick and fast through to the start of the real thing.

“It's all about fitness and I can't praise the players enough for the way they have performed in training.”

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