By Paul Brown
Paul Lambert is hoping Darren Bent will be fit to play a part in Saturday's pre-season clash at Nottingham Forest.
Lambert revealed Bent is making good progress as he battles back from the thigh strain he picked up training on the USA Tour.
And the boss is eager to see him compete at the City Ground this weekend.
Lambert also revealed that Gabby Agbonlahor [knee], Richard Dunne [groin] and Marc Albrighton [foot] will all miss the start of the season through injury.
Agbonlahor is out for four-five weeks while Dunne is likely to be absent for six-eight weeks.
Lambert told AVTV: "Darren will be fine. He got a thigh injury in the USA and he will not be too far away from Saturday, depending on how he's feeling. But he's fine.
"Gabby is a bit longer. It's his knee and he will miss the start of the season.
"Richard will miss the start of the season. Marc will miss the start of the season. It's a blow but that's football at times. You just have to pick yourself up and go again."
Lambert accepted that while it was frustrating to see three senior stars sidelined, it also presented an opportunity for his other players to make an impact as the new campaign starts.
He added: "I have great belief in the players.They will give it everything they've got and at the end of the day that's all you can ask."
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