STAGS IN MOVE FOR MIDFIELD STAR BELL
EVENING POST, 20 July 2007
Mansfield are set to make on-trial midfielder Lee Bell a contract offer.
The 24-year-old was released by Crewe at the end of last season and has been training with the Stags.
Bell is set to play for Mansfield in their first pre-season friendly against Leicester City at Field Mill tonight (7pm).
But with Jonathan D'Laryea sidelined and Giles Coke having joined Northampton, boss Billy Dearden is already lining up terms in a bid to bolster his central midfield options.
"I would like to think we will offer Lee something," he said. "We have been talking to him and I like what I have seen in training. I think he would be an asset to us if he carries it on and we see it from him in games."
Bell, who can also play on the right-hand side of midfield, spent the tail-end of last season on loan at Burton Albion.
He is keen to give it a go at Mansfield - if the terms of the offer are acceptable.
"Hopefully I will be here for the season and help Mansfield do as well as they can," he said.
Bell deal on the cards for Stags
CHAD website, 19 July 2007
By John Lomas
LEE Bell is hoping a good display against Leicester City tomorrow night (Friday, 7pm) will seal him a deal with Mansfield Town for the season.
Former Crewe midfielder Bell (24) has been training with the Stags and has been told it is almost certain he will be offered a contract.
However, he has also had offers from two other League Two clubs and a month to month offer from a side in League One.
But he would prefer to stay with the manager and players who have made him feel so welcome if a deal can be agreed.
He said: "I hope to have a chat to the manager about it soon but if I have a stinker tomorrow night then the deal will probably be off the table!
"I would like to stay here but we will just have to see what they are going to offer me.
"I do have other offers but I feel I owe a bit of loyalty to Billy who was the first manager to offer me an opportunity after Crewe.
"Everyone has made me welcome and it's been enjoyable. Training has been quite a high standard and the boys have been trying to play football which, to their credit, they have done very well."
One good reason for Stags to take Bell is his versatility.
"At Crewe I played central, left and right midfield, right back and once or twice up front which I didn't like too much," he said.
"I prefer to be in central midfield or right midfield.
"I know with Jon D'Laryea needing an operation that there is an opportunity in there. But you don't want to get in a side through someone else's injury and I wish him a speedy recovery as his return will give more competition for places.
Bell had been with Crewe for almost 13 years from school and said: "I knew I was going to be released and I was fine with that.
"I had been there a long time and Crewe were good for me. I have nothing against them. They had to move on and it was best I did too."
So what can Stags fan epect from Bell?
"I can get around the pitch well and I try to get on the ball as much as I can, up and down," he said. "But I would like to add some goals to my game if I can as I've not been very successful in the past."
Bell is looking forward to facing Leicester but admited: "I think the lads would have liked to have played one or two other games first.
"If they put all their big guns out it will be hard geting the ball off them.
"But it's a good chance to see where we all are so far."
Piper willing to take the risk
CHAD website, 19 July 2007
By John Lomas
STAGS trialist Matty Piper is fully aware that his attempts to continue playing football could have serious consequences for his long term health in the not too distant future.
But the former Sunderland £3.5m man needs to know if, despite major problems in both knees, he could still play League football now rather than find himself wondering and regretting in later life.
Piper (25) has been told there is a chance that he could end up on a walking stick by the age of 40 if he persists in trying to play on after 11 knee operations, five on one knee, six on the other - 10 cartilage and one cruciate ligament.
But he has also been told that, with proper management of his condition, he might also find he can play on for three years or so.
Piper was born with loose knee ligaments that do not hold the joint steady. It was a problem discovered on his second operation when he was just a youngster at Leicester City.
But he still managed to sparkle on loan at Mansfield and then earn himself a big money move to the top level with Sunderland who knew all about the problem when they shelled out £3.5m for his services.
However, the Black Cats released him in January 2005 and, apart from six weeks of training at Leicester City as part of his rehabilitation five months ago, Piper has been sidelined for two years.
"I know what could happen but I don't want to get to 40 or 50 and wish I had tried to give it one more chance," he said.
"I want to know for sure if my knees can take the strains of football.
"Sunderland knew my medical history and knew what they were getting themselves into and it obviously didn't work out for them.
"If I hadn't suffered these problems I believe in my own ability and I think I would have gone on to bigger and better things.
"But that's life and you just get on with it. I don't look back - I look forward."
Billy Dearden's return to Field Mill as manager has provided Piper with an opportunity to try his luck again.
"I knew Billy was back here and I got on well with him before.
"So I called him and asked him if I could come down and train with them.
"To be honest it has been tough as I've been out for so long. In the past it would take me eight to 10 weeks to get fit after after an operation but it will be longer than that this time.
"But I need to know for sure. I have to give it one last chance and I have not had any problems now for over a year since my last operation in America last summer.
"I saw Dr Steadman who helped players like Alan Shearer and he was excellent. I said I needed to know an answer in black and white about playing again. But he said it was up to me.
"He said I may be able to play on for two or three years without a problem or I might need to walk with a stick by the time I am 40. It was in my own hands.
"I am hoping I can play and just manage the situation. I am only 25 but I know I couldn't play in every game and train properly every day without having any problems at all.
"But maybe there are days where I could just do weights instead of full training or something. We will just have to see how it works out.
"Billy knows what I can do if I can get my fitness."
Ironically Mansfield face Piper's former club Leicester City in a friendly at Field Mill tomorrow night (Friday, 7pm).
"I would have liked to have played but I have only had a couple of sessions after so long out so it's come much too soon for me," he said.
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