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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 9, 2007

Magpies hold off on swoop for injured Bent

Newcastle will not rush into any move for Charlton striker Darren Bent as he recovers from a knee injury.

Manager Glenn Roeder had considered renewing his interest in the 22-year-old after Alan Pardew admitted he is up for grabs.

However, while the Londoners expect Bent to be back in action within a month, fears that his absence could be more prolonged mean the Magpies are likely to suspend any approach until the summer, if the player does not win a January move away from The Valley.

Newcastle's stance is understandable - they have seen England frontman Michael Owen make just 10 starts since his £17million move from Real Madrid in August 2005, and while he may play again towards the end of this season, Shola Ameobi is targeting the next campaign after undergoing hip surgery.

Roeder's admiration for Liverpool's Peter Crouch is well known, although Rafael Benitez's insistence that the England international is not for sale means he needs contingency plans.

Bent has been on the St James' Park radar for years - he turned down a move to Tyneside as a teenager, preferring to play regular first-team football at Ipswich instead.

But the Magpies have been encouraged by the noises coming out of south-east London after they were forced to disregard him last summer when he signed a new deal with Charlton.

Roeder instead turned to Nigerian Obafemi Martins, who has now settled to such an extent Newcastle have had to dismiss speculation he could be sold to Chelsea this month.

The manager and chairman Freddy Shepherd have been scouring Europe for reinforcements in recent weeks with a striker and defenders their priorities, and like their counterparts elsewhere in the Barclays Premiership, are not finding things easy.

Roeder said: 'It is going the way we expected. When you are looking for quality players, they are never easy to get out of the clubs they are already at.

'Managers do not want to sell their better players, so it is difficult - but I expected it to be.

'We are working hard and we will see what the next few weeks bring.'

Roeder has insisted he will not invest in players without being certain they can do a job for him for the length of their contracts after being saddled with expensive flops following his appointment as manager.

He managed to offload £8million Frenchman Jean-Alain Boumsong to Juventus during the summer and will hope he can move on Spanish misfit Albert Luque this time around.

It is understood Dutch side PSV Eindhoven want to take the £9.5million winger on loan with a view to a permanent deal.

However, the player's £40,000-a-week wages could prove the stumbling block with Newcastle unwilling to meet any shortfall between what PSV are prepared to pay him.

They are adopting a similar stance to the one they took with Boumsong, and will hope for the same outcome.

The 28-year-old former Deportivo la Coruna midfielder has started only six Premiership games for the club, none of them this season, and was left on the bench at Birmingham on Saturday when youngsters Matty Pattison and Alan O'Brien both got the nod ahead of him.

Meanwhile, Roeder has welcomed a home draw in the fourth round of the FA Cup if his side can finish the job against Steve Bruce's side.

Newcastle would face either Premiership rivals Reading or Coca-Cola Championship Burnley at St James', and that will do for the manager.

He said: 'First of all, we have to concentrate on the replay with Birmingham and make sure we get through that match before we can think about the next round.

'But I never change my opinion when it comes to cup draws. In any competition, you are always looking to be drawn at home and this gives the players a great incentive to get through.'