Bell battling to be fit for FA Vase tie

TWO-TIME FA Carlsberg Vase winner Phill Bell is facing a race against time to be fit for Ashington’s fifth round tie on Sunday.

Bell is battling to be fit for his side’s historic game against Shortwood United in Gloucestershire on Sunday.

The tall striker, who has scored 11 goals to date this season, limped off during the Colliers’ convincing 4-1 victory over reigning STL Northern League champions Spennymoor recently with a hamstring injury.

His chances of making Sunday’s contest are rated 50/50.

Bell, 28, a lecturer, made quite an impact during what turned out to be a cameo 15 minutes appearance against the defending champions at Woodhorn Lane.

He came off the bench to replace Dan Taylor, won a penalty ten minutes later and then duly scored from the spot-kick before being taken off with the injury.

“It’s the first time in my career that I’ve had a hamstring injury,” said a concerned Bell at the weekend.

“It happened with my second touch into the penalty area.

“I was brought down and after scoring from the spot, chased down an opponent a couple of minutes later and felt a sharp pain in my leg.

“I had to come off.

“I’ve had an ice pack on my leg to help take the bruising down and I’ve been to see a specialist – now all I can do is keep my fingers crossed.”

Bell – a Vase winner twice with Whitley Bay – is desperately hoping he comes through a last minute test.

“All matches in the Vase in all the rounds leading up to the final are big games,” he said.

“But I feel I’ve still got something to do.

“I want to play a major part – and I’m motivated.”

The front man is full of praise for the management at Woodhorn Lane who have assembled a strong pool of players this season.

He added: “It is a superb squad.

“And even more so for league matches as we have a few lads who are Vase tied.

“But we have proved in the last two rounds against Spennymoor and Newport Pagnell that we are capable of beating anyone.

“I know what it takes from past experience and we have a lot of aspects to our team.

“We have a variety of players and are not one dimensional.”

Ashington boss Gary Middleton said: “Phill’s chances are only 50/50 but I’m hopeful he will come through a test.

“He is a big player for us and it is really important that he makes the starting line-up.

“He is of course a double Vase winner and has had a major impact on our development and progress this season.”