Darren's Verdict

Wednesday 15 January 2014 10:30

Darren Bent hopes two goals in his last two starts will give René Meulensteen something of a selection quandary ahead of Saturday’s game at Arsenal.

Bent opened the scoring in Tuesday night’s FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round Replay against Norwich City, before goals from Ashkan Dejagah and Steve Sidwell sealed a fairly comfortable 3-0 win for the Whites at a soggy Craven Cottage.

Having also found the net in the original tie at Carrow Road, Bent’s 16th-minute strike in SW6 took his tally for the season to five and he told the official website: “It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet and the last two games I’ve started I’ve managed to score in both. Hopefully that will continue. I’ve got a decent record against Norwich and it’s always nice being an ex-Ipswich Town player to score against them.

“Norwich came out pretty sharp and they were on top for the first five minutes. Maarten Stekelenburg made a great save and Norwich then hit the bar. But after that we settled down and there was a bit more urgency in our play. After we got the first one that knocked them a bit and then the second goal just before half-time kind of killed the game off.”

Sidwell’s effort was his third goal in as many games and makes him the Club’s leading scorer this season with six - no mean feat for a midfielder at this stage of the campaign.

Bent, though, isn’t surprised by his teammate’s form in front of goal, stating: “Every season he always seems to chip in with goals here and there. This term he’s doing really well, not just with his goals but his all-round game. He’s difficult to play against and he’s a real driving force for us right now.”

The win against Norwich sets up a Fourth Round tie at Sky Bet League One Sheffield United on Sunday 26th February (1pm) and, while the Whites are still in it, Bent admits there’s no harm of dreaming of a run in the famous old competition.

“It would be nice,” he mused. “The fans would love a day out at Wembley I’m sure, although that’s a long way off. If we can keep playing well and put in performances like the one against Norwich then there’s no reason why we can’t go far. To play in an FA Cup Final would be magnificent. As a kid, the FA Cup was probably the biggest competition in England for me.”

Before all that, however, there’s the small matter of Saturday’s trip to league leaders Arsenal, with Bent keen to keep his place in Fulham’s starting XI.

“It would be nice to get a start,” he added. “It’s always difficult to play against the Arsenal but if we can ride our luck and play well, there’s no reason why we can’t get something from the game.”