IVAN TONEY bagged a hat-trick for Brentford B as they ran out 5-1 winners in a training ground friendly over Southampton Under-23s earlier at the weekend.
The striker, 27, is nearing a return from his eight-month betting ban.
Toney’s ban is set to end on January 16, meaning that he will be eligible for the Bees’ next Premier League clash against Nottingham Forest on January 20. The forward has been back in training since September and has now taken part in an 11-a- side match.
He took just four minutes to mark his return with a goal, converting Kyreece Lisbie’s near-post cross. Saints levelled shortly after, but Toney restored the Bees’ lead by heading home Ethan Brierley’s free-kick.
The England international completed his hat-trick on 55 minutes when he turned home another Brierley cross.
Toney then showed off his creative prowess, teeing up Iwan Morgan as the Bees made it 4-1.
Brentford’s top scorer last season was withdrawn 15 minutes from time, being replaced by Ashley Hay, who also got on the scoresheet to make it five.
Romeo Beckham was also used from the bench, nearly grabbing an assist late on.
SunSport revealed last month that Brentford are “desperate” to hold on to talisman Toney.
And Bees boss Thomas Frank recently warned Arsenal off £100 million-rated Toney.
He said: “As far as I know Ivan is a Brentford player. I want to keep him and I’m looking forward to him playing with us.”
Quizzed on whether he is desperate to keep hold of his star striker, Frank added: “I really would like to. I’m a head coach.
“Desperate is a big word. I want to have my best players with me at all times. From my perspective, I don’t want to sell him.
“That’s because I think he’s fantastic. I’m enjoying him every day.
“Having him back will be like signing an unbelievably good Premier League striker. He’s looking forward to finally contributing to the team. “I see the same determination and willpower from him to want to train well and be ready to play. “Maybe a tiny bit more in terms of a comeback and wanting to be at his best.”
Toney is contracted to Brentford until the end of next season and has also attracted interest from Tottenham and Chelsea. — The Sun.