Aston Villa inched out of the relegation zone after a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal, and have a chance to move further away from danger when they host Reading.
Paul Lambert’s side are the 10/11 favourites against the Royals, despite having taken just a point from their last three league games.
However, the trio of opponents they faced don’t get much tougher, and Villa put in good performances against Man United and Arsenal although they crumbled away to Man City.
With just two goals scored in those three games, it seems that the Birmingham club all crying out for help up front, and Lambert should recall the proven Darren Bent to solve this problem.
The Scottish manager seems to have taken a dislike to Bent during his short tenure at Villa Park, preferring to play summer signing Christian Benteke alongside Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor in attack during recent weeks.
Bent was left out of the entire 16-man matchday squad for the stalemate with the Gunners, despite reportedly returning to fitness after an ankle injury.
Bent’s last start in claret and blue came over a month ago, with Lambert having already stripped the England striker of the captaincy by then.
His replacements have fared relatively well in the absence of the ex-Sunderland player, with Weimann scoring twice against United before their 3-2 collapse.
Agbonlahor has looked a dangerous threat from the wing, whilst Benteke has impressed in his debut season despite discovering Aston Villa was not in London after his transfer from Genk.
However, why the club are not calling on an experienced goalscorer such as Bent continues to be a mystery to many.
Rumours suggest he has not been putting in enough effort during training, whilst Lambert’s style of play is perhaps not suited to a striker like Bent who is not the most mobile.
But to leave out a man who has scored over 100 Premier League goals is brave indeed, and that decision is now been called into question with Villa struggling for goals.
It might mean Lambert swallowing his pride, but surely Villa fans are crying out to see Bent and Benteke play together up front?
They might not be an ideal partnership, but with the powerful Benteke winning the majority of aerial duels against Arsenal, a poacher like Bent is needed to help finish what the Belgium starts.
Bent is priced at 11/8 to score at anytime against Reading, while backing the Tooting-born hitman to find the net last – probably from the bench – is an intriguing punt at odds of 5/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.