‘Ready-made replacement’ - Former West Ham striker verdict on Bristol City’s Sam Bell

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The 20-year-old has earned praise from a former Premier League striker

In-form Bristol City striker Sam Bell is almost a 'ready-made replacement' for Antoine Semenyo, thinks former West Ham and England striker Dean Ashton.

Bell was on target as he netted his first Championship goal in the Robins' 2-1 win over Preston North End at Deepdale on the weekend. Mark Sykes opened the scoring in the sixth minute after rounding Freddie Woodman following an under-hit back-pass from Robbie Brady.

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The 20-year-old, who had only scored for the club in the FA Cup, after an effort against Blackburn Rovers was chalked out, doubled Nigel Pearson's side lead in the third minute of stoppage time, scoring from a low cross from strike partner Nahki Wells. Bell took his goal well and now has four goals in his last five matches.

Bell was making his first start of the Championship season after goals against Swansea and West Brom in the FA Cup, and was preferred to deadline day signings Anis Mehmeti and Harry Cornick. He played on the left-hand side of an attacking three, which is where Antoine Semenyo played before his sale to Bournemouth, and now the former Three Lions striker believes Bell can replace him.

"Semenyo obviously left in this window but they’ve got other players coming on the conveyor belt," said Ashton appearing as a pundit on ITV's English Football League Highlights programme. "Sam Bell, four in four in all competitions and almost a ready-made replacement for Semenyo.”

"They’ve also brought in Cornick and Mehmeti, they’ve got young players like Alex Scott. They’ve got a lot of attacking quality there and obviously on a good run now."

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Bristol City have yet to lose so far this year and stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches, which has moved them closer to the play-offs than the relegation zone. City are still 17th from where they were last week but are nine clear of 22nd-placed Huddersfield Town, and are only eight off of West Brom.

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