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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Fulham 'lead race for Darren Bent'

Aston Villa's out-of-favour striker Darren Bent could be on his way to Craven Cottage after Fulham increased their offer for him, the Times reports.

Bent has not started a game in more than a month and has not scored since Spetemeber
Bent has been linked with both Fulham and Newcastle.

Bent, 29, is out of the picture at Villa Park under the management of Paul Lambert, and both Fulham and Newcastle have been linked with him.

But the Londoners now appear to have the upper hand, only days after having said they would not be pursuing him because his wage demands were too high.

But the Times reports that the Cottagers have tabled a new offer of £6 million - £2 million more than their first bid, submitted at the weekend.

Bent, who signed for Villa for a record £24 million in January 2011, still has two years remaining on his contract.

Earlier this summer, Newcastle had appeared to be the front-runners for his signature, and the Times says Magpies director of football Joe Kinnear will meet his representatives this week to try and resurrect a deal.

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