Sam Bell has been Bristol City’s top scorer this season, and the club has moved quickly to sign him to new and longer terms. Sam Bell has paid praise to Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson after signing a new three-year deal and stating that he is fulfilling every “local kid’s dream.” The 21-year-old has extended his contract by an additional 12 months, fifteen months after signing his last contract, as he has begun the 2023/24 season as a crucial player for the Robins, scoring four goals in nine Championship games.
Bell, the son of City great and current coach Micky, was given his senior debut under Dean Holden in December 2020, and after an unsuccessful loan spell at Grimsby Town, he’s becoming more popular.
become a part of the first-team squad. He’s made 51 appearances for the club having emerged through the Robins academy where he was prolific at U18 and U21 level.
Raised just eight miles from BS3 in Nailsea, Bell is among of clutch of talent who have graduated from the youth set-up at the club and earned consistent first-team opportunities under Pearson, and has made significant strides already this season.
Reports towards the end of the transfer window linked Bell as a potential future target of Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace plus Rangers, but any interest regarding the forward strictly remains a watching brief for now, rather than anything more concrete.
Pearson did state last month, when asked about Zak Vyner’s future, that City need to secure fresh agreements for a number of their assets, including Bell. He now follows Max O’Leary, George Tanner, Rob Atkinson, Cam Pring and Vyner in signing a new deal, four of which having come through the academy.
“He’s been massive,” Bell said, of Pearson. “He’s really given me the opportunities and I’ll be forever grateful for that. Not just me, there’s a lot of other academy players that have come through under his tenure, so it just shows that he puts a lot of faith in our academy system.
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“The club, as a whole, really pushes the academy as much as possible and is getting a lot of success from it. I’m really pleased to be extending my stay here; to be playing for your local team makes that even more special.
“All my mates growing up (were) Bristol City fans and this is every local kid’s dream, I guess, so I’m very grateful for the opportunities that the club and the manager have given me.”
Bell’s form put him on standby for the last England Under-21 squad and head coach Lee Carsley was at the King Power Stadium to watch City’s game against Leicester City in which the forward played 58 minutes.
International football is an obvious measuring stick, but Bell just wants to keep producing on the pitch and adding to his four goals, preferably with assists as well.
“I’d say it’s been a big year.” A much has occurred. Personally, I’ve made a lot of improvement, but I’m just excited to get started and see what the next few years offer,” Bell added.
“As a team, our main goal is to get promoted, whether through the play-offs or automatically – that’s always our main goal at the start of the year.” Personally, I just want to score and create as many goals as possible while playing as many games as possible.”