SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams has leapt to the defence of Marcus Bent ahead of this weekend’s crucial Championship fixture with Millwall.
The striker, signed from Birmingham City last month, has failed to trouble the score sheet in his first three games since returning to Bramall Lane on loan.
Adams, whose side are four points adrift of safety following Saturday’s defeat at Ipswich Town, has cited a lack of goals as one of the reasons for the South Yorkshire club’s perilous predicament towards the bottom of the table.
Despite receiving permission from United’s board of directors to enter the temporary transfer market before the visit of Kenny Jackett’s promotion-chasing team, Adams remains convinced that Bent will prove a valuable asset in the battle for survival.
“Marcus is going to take a bit of time to get going properly again,” he said. “The first thing I asked him when we first spoke was how much football he’d been playing and he admitted that it hadn’t been much.
“It’s going to be four or five matches before his sharpness if where we want it to be. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a quality player with the attributes and experience we require does it.”
Bent, who scored 24 goals in 56 appearances for United earlier in his career, conceded he had “forgotten the feeling you get when you stick one away” after being offered an escape route from St Andrews where he has been used sparingly by Alex McLeish.
However, despite concerns about the quality of service they have received of late, the 32-year-old has shown encouraging glimpses of being able to form an effect partnership with Ched Evans who missed the trip to Suffolk after being diagnosed with a stomach complaint.
Malta international Daniel Bogdanovic hopes Adams’ efforts to bolster United’s attack will lead to greater opportunities to showcase his talents and the Libyan-born marksman’s unshakeable self-belief could go someway towards repairing his colleague’s brittle confidence.
“Boggy has looked a real handful at times,” Adams said. “But there’s no doubting that we do need more goals.”
Millwall climbed to seventh after beating Doncaster Rovers at The New Den four days ago.
Steve Morison, their leading goalscorer this term, recently agreed a new contract which ties him to the club until 2013.
“Steve’s very optimistic about the future here,” Jackett said. “He conducted himself exceptionally well through the transfer window when there had been a lot of speculation.”