Bent targets boss boost
Villa striker determined to secure victory for Houllier
Last Updated: April 22, 2011 8:38am
Darren Bent is hoping to fire Aston Villa past Stoke, offering a timely pick-me-up to boss Gerard Houllier.
Villa head into Saturday's home date with the Potters knowing that their coach is likely to be missing for the remainder of the season.
Houllier has suffered a second heart scare of his managerial career and is currently under medical supervision.
Assistant manager Gary McAllister will take charge until further notice, with a top-half finish in the Premier League now the target.
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Victory over Stoke would take Villa a step closer to reaching that goal, while ending any lingering relegation fears.
In-form frontman Bent is determined to be the one to help the Villans over that particular line, and offer a huge boost to Houllier in his recovery.
"We have momentum on our side now," he said, with Villa having picked up seven points from their last three games.
"If we can turn that into another win, it'll be one less thing for the manager to worry about.
"All of the players wish the gaffer a speedy recovery. He's been fantastic with me and is trying to make me a better player.
"We want him back as soon as possible but his health comes first and we need him to get better."
Stewart Downing has echoed the sentiments of his England colleague, claiming Villa will raise their game against Stoke in an effort to claim three points for their manager.
He told the club's official website: "Obviously, everyone at the club is concerned for the manager.
"It's never nice, an experience like this, especially for his family. But the news is that he's going to be all right and that's pleasing and reassuring. A good win against Stoke on Saturday will help him no doubt.
"In fact, the last couple of weeks have been good and I'm sure the gaffer will want us to continue in this vein.
"That's what Gary McAllister told us, that the gaffer wants us to carry on playing like we're playing and to win as many points as we can between now and the end of the season.
"Hopefully, a good result on Saturday will be the perfect boost for him."