BELL WILL RING CHANGES FOR BILLY'S BOYS
Evening Post, 23 July 2007
Managers will often tell you there is no loyalty left in football, but Lee Bell is living proof it has not disappeared altogether.
After being released by League One Crewe Alexandra at the end of last season, the 24-year-old midfielder reckons he has had several offers from other clubs.
But because Billy Dearden was the first to give him a chance by way of a trial, Bell insists he will consider what Mansfield have to offer first.
"I was looking round for a club and someone from Crewe got in touch with the manager here and he said to come down," said Bell. "Because he was the first I took his offer up and here I am.
"I have got clubs at this level who are interested and one in the league above who are prepared to take me month to month.
"But I have turned them down for the moment because the manager has given me a chance and I think he deserves a bit of loyalty in return.
"The club have said they are going to offer me something, which I will have a look at.
"I'm enjoying it and they are a good group of lads. In training it has been quite a high standard and the boys try to play football."
Bell could well make his first appearance for Mansfield tonight at Belper Town after Friday's game against Championship Leicester City at Field Mill was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
With Jonathan D'Laryea out of the start of the season with an ankle injury and Giles Coke having left for Northampton, it is an opportunity for him to stake a claim for a first-team central midfield role.
Bell said: "It's a shame for Jonathan and I wish he hadn't got injured and perhaps we could have played three central midfielders if he'd been fit.
"I don't wish to get in the team because someone else is injured and I wish him a speedy recovery.
"I played everywhere at Crewe - at the back, on the left and the right of midfield and even up front.
"But central midfield is what I prefer. I have come to the stage now where I want to be holding down one position."
Picked up by his hometown club at a young age, Bell hoped he would one day progress to become a regular for the Alex.
But when he was sent out on loan to Conference side Burton Albion towards the end of last season, he knew his days at the Cheshire side were numbered.
"My contract ran out at Crewe and I got released which wasn't a surprise - I knew it was coming," he said.
"I had been at Crewe for a long time - 12 or 13 years since I was a kid - so it was a big part of my life.
But sometimes things don't happen for you. I have nothing against Crewe. They have to move on just like I do"
As part of the famous Dario Gradi production line of players at Gresty Road, Bell is known to be a capable player on the ball.
But the word coming out of the Stags' new training base at the John Fretwell Sports Complex, near Warsop, is he is not shy in the tackle either.
Bell said: "I can get around the pitch, up and down, and try to get on the ball as much as I can.
"I want to try to add goals to my game because I've not been that successful in that department.
"I think I have been described as combative in the past and I suppose that's a reasonable description."
The chances are, Stags fans will get the chance to see exactly what Bell can offer tonight.
Stags hoping on friendly action
CHAD website, 23 July 2007
By John Lomas
WHAT side Stags boss Billy Dearden turns out in tonight's much-needed pre-season friendly at Belper Town (7.30pm) will depend on if he can arrange another friendly for Wednesday.
Since Friday's home game with Leicester City was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, Dearden has been frantically looking for a replacement game for this week as players look to get some football under their belts.
One possibility is Crewe Alexandra who are expecting their proposed game at Forest Green to be called off due to the Gloucestershire flooding.
Stags could then face them behind closed doors on Wednesday home or away.
"I am waiting on a phone call on a second friendly and if I don't get that today then I will probably give everyone at least 45 minutes tonight," said Dearden.
"But if I get a game Wednesday I will just play those who need it the most tonight.
"It was very disappointing the Leicester game was called off on Frida but it was the right decision.
"It can be hard to see it when there is grass on the pitch at this time of year but there were puddles on it and the ball wouldn't run.
"The kids' game at Teversal was called off on Saturday too - we must be the only club who haven't had a game yet.
"But I am not too bothered just yet. My main concern is staying clear of injuries which we have managed so far."
The Belper pitch was flooded recently but club officials said this morning that they did not anticipate any problems tonight.
Former Crewe midfielder Lee Bell will play tonight and a deal to sign him could be struck this week.
Stags' only injury, Jon D'Laryea, had his ankle operation on Friday.
"I went up to the North-East to pick him up on Saturday as he had to stay in overnight," said Dearden.
"He can do nothing for two weeks as he is on crutches and not allowed any weight bearing.
"We will have to see how he goes after that but we know he wil be two to three months which is a big disappointment."
D'LARYEA KEEN TO STAY ON AT STAGS
Evening Post, 23 July 2007
Jonathan D'Laryea today revealed he would be keen to sign a contract extension at Mansfield this season.
The central midfielder was one of the most consistent performers last season before he suffered an ankle injury in March against Notts County.
Despite a long lay-off and a couple of operations, which will rule him out for up to three more months, he says the Stags have shown an interest in giving him a new deal beyond his existing one, which expires next summer.
"Just like anyone, I want to play higher, but I am really enjoying my time at Mansfield," said D'Laryea.
"There have been a few suggestions the club might be looking to extend my contract, although there has been nothing definite.
"That is something I would definitely consider and most probably sign. I am under 24 so I would have no problems with staying at Mansfield for longer. It's nice to be wanted and the gaffer has made it clear he wants me to stay here as long as possible."
At Manchester City, D'Laryea used to play alongside his brother Nathan for the Blues' reserves. Now he is looking forward to lining up against Nathan, who has signed a two-year deal with League Two rivals Rochdale.
D'Laryea said: "It will be great to play against Nathan. I'm sure there will be a few words of banter between us before and after the two matches - I just have to make sure we win."
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