Football: Bent Optimistic but Villa need more Firepower
Aston Villa striker, Darren Bent, has assured fans that the club have the firepower to be competitive in the Barclays Premier League this season but there appears to be a worrying lack of options up front for boss, Paul Lambert.
Villa, who kicked off their campaign with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at West Ham, are hoping for a better season than 2011-12 when, under former boss, Alex McLeish, they only just finished outside the relegation places.
The Scot's sacking earlier this summer - and Lambert's subsequent appointment - was generally met with enthusiasm by most of the club's fans, who were hopeful that the new man in charge would guide Villa up the table and play a more attractive style of football in the process.
However, scoring goals could be the manager's biggest problem, with injuries and a lack of personnel restricting him.
Bent is the stand-out candidate to be Villa's top scorer but the England international has been dogged by injury over the past 12 months. He missed a trip to the Euros this year, as he was recovering from a combination of groin and hamstring injuries.
The former Spurs and Sunderland man insists that the Midlanders have goals throughout the team but he is currently being hampered by an eye problem and may be out for a few weeks, while Gabriel Agbonlahor and Marc Albrighton are also in the treatment room.
That leaves just the relatively inexperienced Nathan Delfouneso and the unproven Andreas Weimann as striker options, unless Lambert decides to use Australian international, Brett Holman, normally a winger, in a more central role.
What Lambert currently has at his disposal will hardly strike fear into Premier League defences up and down the country, so it is no surprise to see the likes of Stoke forward, Kenwyne Jones, linked with a move to Villa Park.
If Bent can stay fit - and that is a big if looking at his recent record - then he may be the man to shoot the club up the table but, if his injury woes return on a regular basis, then Lambert will need to find alternatives or another dismal season at Villa Park surely awaits.