‘It would be fitting if that was my last stop’ – Darren Bent open to Ipswich Town return

PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:18 12 October 2018

Darren Bent says he would love to speak to Ipswich Town about returning to his boyhood club. Photo: PA

Darren Bent says he would love to speak to Ipswich Town about returning to his boyhood club. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Darren Bent says he is very much open to the idea of returning to his beloved Ipswich Town.

Darren Bent spent the back end of last season on loan at Burton Albion. Photo: PADarren Bent spent the back end of last season on loan at Burton Albion. Photo: PA

Blues boss Paul Hurst has admitted he may look to the free agent market to boost his striker options following injuries to Jon Walters and Ellis Harrison.

And Bent, who has been without a club since being released by Derby County this summer, is certainly a name which jumps off the list.

“There’s been no contact, but obviously it’s something I would be open to,” said the 34-year-old, who scored 55 goals in 141 games for the Blues in the early 2000s after emerging from the youth ranks.

Bent scored 16 goals in 33 starts and 34 substitute appearances during his three seasons as a permanent Derby County player. Photo: PABent scored 16 goals in 33 starts and 34 substitute appearances during his three seasons as a permanent Derby County player. Photo: PA

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“It’s a club close to my heart. That’s where it all started for me, I had a lot of good days there and a great relationship with the fans. Never mind it being one of the results I look for every week, it’s the first result I look for.

“Going back there one day has always been something in the back of my mind throughout my career. I think it would be fitting if that was the last stop on my journey.”

Bent scored 55 goals in 141 appearances for Ipswich Town (2001-05) after emerging from the youth system. He moved to Charlton Athletic for around £3m. Photo: ArchantBent scored 55 goals in 141 appearances for Ipswich Town (2001-05) after emerging from the youth system. He moved to Charlton Athletic for around £3m. Photo: Archant

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After leaving Portman Road for Charlton in 2005, Bent had further big money moves to Tottenham, Sunderland and Aston Villa. Along the way he earned 13 England caps too.

He’s spent the last three seasons playing in the Championship for Derby, suffering a fair share of hamstring injuries along the way, but managed 15 appearances on loan for Burton at the back end of last season and was recently linked to Rangers.

Darren Bent shares a joke with recently retired Ipswich Town goalkeeper coach Malcolm Webster upon his return to Portman Road as a Derby player in 2015. Photo: ArchantDarren Bent shares a joke with recently retired Ipswich Town goalkeeper coach Malcolm Webster upon his return to Portman Road as a Derby player in 2015. Photo: Archant

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“I read reports that (Burton manager) Nigel Clough had offered me a pay-as-you-play contract, but I never actually sat down with him to talk about that. We never had that conversation.

“I had a few offers over the summer. A couple got quite close to happening and didn’t quite pan out for various reasons, while a couple of the clubs I just didn’t fancy.

Bent scored four goals in 13 games for England. Photo: PABent scored four goals in 13 games for England. Photo: PA

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“I’m enjoying the media work, but would love to keep playing as long as possible. That said I’ve got levels and standards that I don’t want to drop below. We’ll see what happens. As I say, I’d definitely love to have a conversation with Ipswich.

“The team hasn’t got off to the best of starts and it would be nice to try and help out if they need another striker. I see that one area they have been struggling with has been scoring goals and that’s something I’ll always back myself to do.

Darren Bent (centre) has been working as a pundit for Sky Sports. He's pictured here alongside presenter Scott Minto (left) and former pro Liam Rosenior. Photo: PADarren Bent (centre) has been working as a pundit for Sky Sports. He's pictured here alongside presenter Scott Minto (left) and former pro Liam Rosenior. Photo: PA

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“I guess it depends what the manager is after.”

He added: “I trained with Burton over the summer, played some pre-season games, had a couple of charity matches and have been doing my own gym work. I don’t think general fitness would be an issue, it would just take a little bit of time to get that match sharpness back.”

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