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Bent warming up for hostile Tyneside reception
And Magpies boss Alan Pardew, who claimed recently the forward opted for London because it was the “safer option”, thinks the ex-Black Cats front-man is likely to feel the wrath of the home support.
Despite Pardew identifying Bent as one of his preferred transfer targets this summer, Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear was unable to strike a deal.
The 29-year-old, who is thought to have been interested in a switch to Tyneside, was frustrated by the lack of progress over an extended period of time so was happy to complete a season-long loan switch to Craven Cottage.
Pardew joked: “We made an effort to sign him and he chose not to come so I'm sure our fans will be pleased to see him!"
The Newcastle boss knows, though, the delay in agreeing something with Aston Villa and with Bent cost him, while Kinnear worked on other deals such as Bafetimbi Gomis and Loic Remy.
Pardew still hoped he would have had a change of heart at the last minute when Newcastle made one final attempt to sign him when he was due for a medical at Fulham earlier this month.
Now Fulham manager Martin Jol, whose side scored against Arsenal last weekend through the former England man, thinks Bent will be ready to make his mark on the Premier League again and rubbished Pardew's “safe option” jibe.
“I really don't know what Pardew means,” said Jol. “I feel he probably made the right decision because he knows that he is in our plans and that means he will play a lot of games. He knows he is an important part of my squad – otherwise I think he would have gone to Newcastle.”
Bent was frozen out at Aston Villa by Paul Lambert and was forced to train away from the first team during pre-season. He has been making progress on his fitness, but Jol is undecided whether he will start him at St James' Park.
The last time Bent scored at Newcastle was when Sunderland lost 5-1 on October 31, 2010.
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