Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hayles Fights for Future

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hayles Fights for Future

Article excerpt

Byline: LEO SPALL

BARRY HAYLES was a carpenter before he was a professional footballer so he is used to chipping away at things. But after nearly four years at Fulham he is beginning to get a little tired of the need to continually prove he is good enough as a striker.

He arrived at the club in 1998 for 2million from Bristol Rovers and had a hard time trying to win over doubters on the terraces and behind the scenes.

Hayles has scored 50 goals in 120 starts for Fulham since then and become quite popular with a section of the team's fans.

Yet tonight, against Bologna in the first-leg of an InterToto Cup Final in Italy, he will still be trying to convince Fulham manager Jean Tigana of his ability.

The Frenchman is ready to let the 30-year-old leave as soon as he can find a replacement and West Brom are waiting in the wings.

He has already tried to swap Hayles plus cash for Ipswich's Marcus Bent but could not agree a deal with the First Division club.

The Lambeth-born striker, who was Fulham's top scorer last season with 12 goals, does not want to go but the chance to join a team who really want him must be becoming an attractive option.

Hayles said: "The club has never actually told me they want to sell me and I think I am a Premier League striker but maybe some other people don't. It is frustrating because I would like to be a Fulham player for plenty of years come and it hurts when you

hear that you might be up for sale.

It is not the first time it has happened and I cannot say that it does not affect me at all. It gets me down for a while but then I start to want to fight back. The way I came into football, I am used to getting up and doing it all again."

Hayles' attitude derives from his late entry into the professional game.

He was not good enough to follow the conventional route from teenage trainee to first-team squad and only joined his first club, Bristol Rovers, five years ago.

Not long before he played for non-league Stevenage and was a carpenter, so having his ability doubted is not new.

More recently, when Tigana first became Fulham manager two years ago, Hayles thought his days at the club were numbered. …

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