Bent joins Derby on loan

Championship promotion hopefuls Derby County have signed Aston Villa striker Darren Bent on loan until the end of the season.

The 30-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Fulham, has made just one appearance for Villa this campaign and scored two goals in five games in a month-long stint with Brighton and Hove Albion, which came to an end in December.

But he has now been offered the chance of regular football by Derby, third in the second tier, as they bid to try to ensure a return to the Premier League after losing the play-off final to QPR in May 2014.

Bent will link up with his new team-mates on Monday and could make his debut against former club Ipswich Town a week on Saturday.

"We are delighted to welcome Darren Bent to Derby County for the rest of the season," manager Steve McClaren - who has been installed as the favourite for the soon-to-be vacant role at Newcastle United - told the club's official website.

"I've worked with him in the past and he brings significant Premier League and international experience with him.

"He adds to our already excellent attacking options. Darren has scored goals wherever he has been during his career and we believe he can contribute on the field for us.

"We're braced for an exciting second half of the season, which is always an important stage in any campaign, and we've got plenty of big matches coming up for everyone to look forward to – and Darren certainly brings big-game experience with him."