Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Yakubu Will Not Get an Easy Ride; Good Wishes Are Forgotten

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Yakubu Will Not Get an Easy Ride; Good Wishes Are Forgotten

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jack Pickering

MIDDLESBROUGH will head for Everton tomorrow determined to show Ayegbeni Yakubu he made the wrong choice this summer.

After months of speculation, the 24-year-old Nigeria international completed an pounds 11.25m switch to Goodison Park from the Riverside Stadium, following Mark Viduka out of the door and leaving manager Gareth Southgate to put together a new-look strikeforce.

Boro made little secret of their desire to keep both men, particularly Yakubu, as the transfer window ran down.

However, having drafted in Mido, Jeremie Aliadiere and Tuncay in their own summer spending spree, the Teessiders believe they have the answer to the 35 goals from last season they have lost in the shape of their former frontmen, and they will be on the offensive this weekend.

Southgate was warm in his praise for Yakubu following his departure, but was happy to sell him because he felt his heart was no longer at Boro, and while the boss bears no malice, he knows some of his players will run out ready to prove a point.

He said: "Yak has got a lot of friends here, so whatever happens, we remember him as being a good colleague - but that sentiment goes out of the window for Sunday. He will obviously want to try to do well, but it's about us taking on Everton as a team.

"We know what Yak's strengths are and we know what his weaknesses are, and we will be prepared for that.

"As I said when he left, we wished him well, we remember the good things he did for us, but we want to beat him because in the end, he did not want to stay with us. The lads will probably have a point to prove on Sunday." Yakubu has not enjoyed the brightest of starts at Everton, having found the back of the net on his debut, but dropped for last weekend's 2-0 victory at Aston Villa.

However, he returned - and scored - in a 3-0 Carling Cup win at Sheffield Wednesday and will be gunning for his former employers. If selected, he could come up against former team-mate Jonathan Woodgate, who has shaken off a groin problem to make himself available, and promising youngster David Wheater. …

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