Hell-bent on survival

Premier class: New Lane strike ace Marcus Bent
Premier class: New Lane strike ace Marcus Bent

MARCUS Bent last night laid bare the reasons behind his return to Sheffield United.

First, the Birmingham City striker wants to save his former club from relegation. And second, he is determined to earn a permanent contract at Bramall Lane.

Revealing he had turned down “other offers” in favour of rejoining United, Bent said: “Can we stay-up? I’ll be completely honest. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think that we could because I’d be taking part in something that wasn’t worthwhile.

“We’ve got a very capable and talented manager. We’ve also got a lot of very capable and talented players. So the answer is ‘yes’ of course we can stay up.”

Bent scored 20 goals in 48 league appearances for United earlier in his career before completing a £2.1 million move to Blackburn Rovers just over a decade ago.

The 32-year-old, who has signed on loan until the end of the season, added: “I haven’t got a future at Birmingham. My contract is up at the end of the campaign.

“I’m here until then and then hopefully for a bit longer. The only thing I’m focusing on at the moment is helping us get up the ladder but, to be fair, if United did offer me something at the end then I’d probably bite their hand off.”

United, who are 21st in the Championship table, were in a similar predicament when Bent first arrived in South Yorkshire.

Having left Ewood Park, he worked with United manager Micky Adams at Leicester City and also knows Mark Yeates following a brief spell with Middlesbrough.

“We were in a similar situation to start with when I was last here and we got out of that one,” said Bent.

“We can get out of it again.

“The gaffer then, Neil Warnock, was a great motivator, and Micky is the same. I did well because I had Paul Devlin out wide and he kept putting crosses in the box which I stuck away.

“I’m not putting pressure on Yeatsy but hopefully we can do something similar.

“I know him from Boro and he’s got an abundance of talent.”

Bent added: “I’m really excited about this. When I left I was sad because this was the first club where I’d really felt at home.”

Meanwhile, Swansea could be poised to approach United about luring midfielder Leon Britton back to the Liberty Stadium.