The Expendable Eight are now down to just five after yesterday’s news that David Bell first left Coventry City after agreeing to tear up his contract and later on joined fellow League One side Notts County. Since joining from Norwich back in January 2009 he has gained a reputation as a target for the boo boys as well as for being chained to the club’s physio. He played 94 out of around 200 possible appearances which evidences this particular aspect of David Bell as allergic to regular first-team football. When he hasn’t been injured he has struggled for consistency with the near farcical rotation policy during our relegation season in the Championship between him and Carl Baker being an example of how he performs over a whole season when fit.
That being said it has been the case that a fit David Bell in the right frame of mind could play for any club outside of the top flight, and maybe 1 or 2 inside it. When he initially joined the club under Chris Coleman he was used effectively as part of a game plan where he and loan player Jordan Henderson threatened on both of our flanks. Towards the end of last season after returning to full fitness he was perhaps our best wide player in the squad. Yes Carl Baker has his goals to show for last season yet he never really convinced that he was able to terrorise opposition full-backs in the same nature that David Bell was able to do so at the end of last season. It was clear though from last season that a lack of any pace at all hindered David Bell’s ability to deliver penetration in the final third despite promising build-up play.
For all his many flaws it feels kind of disappointing that David Bell has been allowed to leave. However considering his injury record, length of contract and probable wages this is perhaps a sacrifice that has been needed for the sake of finances. Whilst we’re unlikely to be able to find replacements of similar quality, his exit now presents Pressley with the opportunity to go after his type of player, when and if the transfer embargo is lifted.