Barry Town player Josh Bell is a step closer to a professional contract...
A BARRY Town player has taken a step closer to winning a professional contract. Josh Bell is through to the quarter-final stage of the Samsung Win A Pro Contract competition.
More than 5,000 players from all over the country entered for the chance to play for League One Swindon Town or Leyton Orient, but 23-year-old Josh is among the last 88 remaining.
The Sully resident will play in a re-scheduled 11-a-side match at Staines Town FC on Sunday (November 18). The match was originally arranged for November 4 but was called off because of poor weather.
Josh said he was treating this as his last opportunity to make it.
“I was signed to Bristol Rovers between the ages of 14 and 16 but then I broke my ankle and was out for two years,” said the striker, who attended St Richard Gwyn school.
“I have been trying to find my way back to a pro club since then.
“Barry Town, who I signed for when I was 19, have been amazing with me - especially manager Gavin Chesterfield and coach Mike Coslett. I owe them everything.”
When he was at Bristol Rovers he played alongside Manchester City and former Swansea player Scott Sinclair, and he said the Pro Contract Competition has its fair share of talented individuals.
“I never thought I would get this far,” added Josh who works for the Vale Council.
“But my family encouraged me give it a go when I heard about it online, and now I’m just determined to give it my all.
“To play for Paolo Di Canio would be unbelievable. I definitely wouldn’t want to get on his wrong side though!”
Swindon Town manager Di Canio, who will pick one player to join his squad in January 2013, said: “Everyone has worked hard to make it this far in the competition, but there is still a long way to go.
“The players must demonstrate that they have what it takes to play professional football. It is a big step but I’m sure we will find a player who is capable.”
Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade will also offer a year-long contract to one player. He said: “Competing in Samsung’s Win A Pro Contract means a lot of pressure for these players. But it is a huge opportunity for them to go on and become a professional.
“I’m looking for someone with the right attitude, intelligence on the pitch, and a special quality that makes them stand out – like electric pace, a passing ability, or a real physical presence.”
Follow Win A Pro Contract at www.facebook.com/samsungfootball