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Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Middlesbrough complete Bent loan

Marcus Bent
Bent has played for 11 clubs in his 14-year career

Gordon Strachan has made his first signing as Middlesbrough boss by tying up striker Marcus Bent on a two-month emergency loan deal from Birmingham.

The 31-year-old has yet to feature for the Blues this season after suffering from a recurring hamstring injury.

"Going up there for two months is an opportunity for him," Birmingham boss Alex McLeish told the club website.

"When it's time for him to come back, we hope he'll be in great form and pushing for a place in the team."

Bent joined the Blues from Charlton in July 2008 after the Addicks were relegated from the Premier League.

McLeish added: "He's obviously had one or two setbacks with injuries. But he's a big, strong centre-forward with pace and presence - and when he's on top form he's an asset."


Earlier this week, Strachan, who replaced Gareth Southgate as Boro boss on Monday, had spoken of his desire to improve his side's striking options in a season which has seen winger Adam Johnson lead the club's scoring charts.

"We are short in the striking department, that's obvious," Strachan said on Thursday. "If you look at the teams who've got promoted recently, they've been strong upfront.

"Sir Alex Ferguson used to say to me the most important part of your team is the strikers and we need to make that stronger."

Bent began his career with Brentford, signing professional forms in 1995, and his form with the Bees attracted the attentions of Crystal Palace who paid £300,000 to take him to Selhurst Park in January 1998.

He left for Port Vale a year later before a fruitful spell at Bramall Lane with Sheffield United where he scored 20 goals in 48 league appearances.

The well-travelled striker then joined Blackburn for a fee in excess of £2m, spending just a season at Ewood Park before switching to Ipswich Town for £3m in November 2001, with the Suffolk club flying high in the Premier League.

Three seasons at Portman Road led to a string of further moves that took in Everton, Charlton and Wigan, before joining Birmingham last season.

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