Aston Villa's Darren Bent back with a bang

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 3:04am


Darren Bent will hope to keep his place in Aston Villa's starting line-up for tonight's League Cup semi-final first leg at Bradford City after his goal-scoring return in the FA Cup.

The England striker, who had been out for five matches with a hamstring injury, made an immediate impact against former club Ipswich Town last Saturday by scoring the equaliser as Villa came from behind to win 2-1.

Villa have been battered by injuries in recent weeks but coach Paul Lambert was also able to welcome back Charles N'Zogbia and Gabriel Agbonlahor, who made a substitute appearance after overcoming a thigh problem.

N'Zogbia, who had not started a game since the end of September, caught the eye in a withdrawn striker's role, and Lambert said he was enthused by the contribution of his attacking players.

"That was the really pleasing thing, to have the players back from injury," he said. "That finish is Darren Bent down to a tee. It was top-class. But I thought his overall game was very good.

"He only really trained with us [last Friday], so it was a big, big effort from him."

Lambert provided an indication of his priorities in the game against Ipswich by making seven changes to the team who had drawn 2-2 at Swansea City in their previous league game.

"We left out a few lads to give them a break and I was delighted with everyone that came in," he said. "I thought it was a massive effort."

Fourth-tier Bradford are bidding to take a third consecutive Premier League scalp, after disposing of Wigan Athletic in round four before recording a famous penalty shootout victory over Arsenal in the quarter-finals.