Hughes may make a striking return to the Cottage in bid to boost Stoke

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Stoke City may be about to launch an audacious bid for Aston Villa striker Darren Bent with the former England star struggling for both form and fitness during an ill-fated loan spell at Fulham.

Potter boss Mark Hughes is eager to add to his squad and help steer his charges away from the Premier League trap door, with a recent 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland leaving the Staffordshire outfit just three points off the drop zone and 4/1 to go down with Ladbrokes.

Bent’s potential move would see the 29-year-old join fellow new recruits Peter Odemwingie and John Guidetti at the Britannia Stadium with Stoke anxiously searching for more options during the January transfer window as the club aim to boost the firepower at Hughes’ disposal.

The Welshman’s side have managed to score only 22 league goals this season and they’ve now drawn a blank during three straight losses in all competitions.

And with forwards Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters and Marko Arnautovic all finding it difficult to hit the back of the net on a regular basis, the signing of former Tottenham striker Bent could be just the tonic the Potters need to solve their current crisis.

A proven goalscorer throughout his career, Bent notched a respectable 25 goals in 64 games for the Villans before falling out of favour under manager Paul Lambert and subsequently joined up with Fulham in the summer.

However, his time in west London has been less successful with only two Premier League goals from 17 games to show for his efforts.

Head coach Rene Meulensteen has already told the striker to shape up and his shocking miss to seal FA Cup victory over League One side Sheffield United may have been the final straw for the Dutchman.

If Mark Hughes can negotiate a deal to prise Bent away from Villa and, and rob relegation rivals Fulham of a potentially valuable tool in their fight for survival in the process, then expect to see Stoke soar up the table.

Having had interest in Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher rebuffed by Black Cats boss Gus Poyet, the Potters could be about to turn their attention elsewhere. A rejuvenated Bent could be the answer to their current woes.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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William Geldart

William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.