Bent: Hell having to watch Villa fight the drop
Published 22:30 04/04/12 By MirrorFootball
Darren Bent has admitted his frustration at being powerless as Aston Villa have been dragged into a relegation dogfight.
Villa’s top scorer has been reduced to a helpless onlooker since being ruled out for the season after suffering ankle ligament damage on February 25.
Alex McLeish’s men head into Saturday’s trip to Liverpool just five points clear of the drop zone after only one win from their last eight league games.
And it prompted Big Eck to admit this week that his team are now embroiled in a scrap for survival.
Overseeing Villa's relegation to the second tier for the first time since 1987 is unthinkable for the Scot, who has had fans on his back since his arrival from arch-rivals Birmingham last summer.
They are still seven points short of the magic 40-point barrier and have some of the heavyweights still to play.
After Anfield, Villa must face Manchester United and Tottenham.
A potentially bitter battle against ex-manager Martin O’Neill and his Sunderland troops also awaits.
Villa’s situation has not been helped by a mammoth injury list which has robbed them of NINE players.
In addition to Bent, Richard Dunne, Jermaine Jenas, Ciaran Clark, Fabian Delph and and Stiliyan Petrov, who was diagnosed with leukaemia last week, are all long-term absentees.
They were also without Charles N’Zogbia, Alan Hutton, Carlos Cuellar for last weekend’s 4-2 defeat to Chelsea.
“I wish I was able to play and help Villa get out of this situation,” said Bent.
“With me getting injured and Robbie (Keane) going back to LA Galaxy, we lost two strikers at the same time.
“When you see the lads going out to training and playing in matches, it gets difficult and you wish you could be out there helping them out.
“But I have kept my spirits high and hopefully I will be back before too long.”
Bent’s Euro 2012 dream looked to be shattered too, when he was told he is unlikely to be fit until late May - shortly before the tournament starts on June 8.
The England ace can now walk without crutches and has stepped up his rehab work in the pool and the gym.
He also hopes to have the protective boot he has been wearing removed soon, which would enable him to begin work on the treadmill.
And he is refusing to give up hope on a place on the plane.
“It’s too early to say for England,” he said. “We’ll have to wait until I’m outside running and kicking a ball.
"The quicker I’m out on the pitch, the quicker I can have an inkling about Euro 2012.
“It is a big goal but, first and foremost, it’s about Aston Villa.”
Bent also revealed he has been praying every day that skipper Petrov will recover.
The striker, who sits next to the Bulgarian in the Villa dressing room, said: “The news puts everything into perspective. I pray every single day that Stan will come back.
“Here I am worrying about my ankle and hoping I’m going to back in a short time frame and here’s Stan fighting for his life.”
Villa could have N’Zogbia (knee) and Hutton (calf) back on Saturday, but Cuellar (thigh) is likely to miss that match and Monday’s home game against Stoke.