Turner backs in-form Bent to punish Spurs

Sunderland striker takes on former club looking to add to his haul of 21 goals
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The Independent Football

The Sunderland defender Michael Turner has warned Tottenham Hotspur that their former striker Darren Bent is gunning for them.

The 26-year-old left White Hart Lane in a £10m summer switch to Wearside after finding himself surplus to requirements under Harry Redknapp. However, he has been a revelation at the Stadium of Light and heads into Saturday's meeting between the two sides with 21 goals this season, 20 of them in the league.

Turner said: "To score that many goals in a team which has been at the wrong end of the table is very impressive. He's had a great season and there's more to come from him. He's always looking to score in the next game, especially so on Saturday."

Sunderland have eased their fears of being dragged into a relegation fight despite the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool. They remain eight points clear of the drop zone in 13th place, but manager Steve Bruce believes they need a least need another win to be sure of retaining their top-flight status.

Bruce admits he does not know where they would have been had it not been for Bent's potency in front of goal, and has consistently championed the striker's claims for a place in England boss Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.

Turner is convinced his team-mate still has plenty more to offer this season as he attempts to catch the Italian's eye.

He said: "I knew before I came here that Darren was always going to score goals, and he hasn't disappointed. He's just an out-and-out goalscorer and I'm sure he can add to his tally before the season is over. Everyone would like to have him in their team."

Meanwhile, Jens Lehmann will retire from football at the end of the season. The 40-year-old Stuttgart goalkeeper announced yesterday that he will end his career when the Bundesliga season finishes on 8 May. "That is what the family council has decided," said the former Arsenal and Germany goalkeeper.

Lehmann gave an indication he would hang up his gloves at the end of the campaign earlier this month when he confirmed he would not be extending his contract. He said at the time staying on would be unfair on his understudies at Stuttgart, Sven Ulreich and Alexander Stolz.

Lehmann won 61 caps for Germany, and was the first-choice keeper at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008. Lehmann joined Stuttgart from Arsenal in 2008 after winning the Premier League title in 2004 and FA Cup in 2005 with the Gunners as well as reaching the Champions League final in 2006.