New sign­ing will be a ‘real morale booster’

Striker praises Chairboys boss for snap­ping up Ephraim

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­

PAUL Hayes sees the sign­ing of for­mer team-mate Ho­gan Ephraim as a real trans­fer coup.

The for­mer QPR mid­fielder, who played along­side Hayes dur­ing a loan spell at Charl­ton three years ago, signed a deal last week, and will be at Adams Park un­til the end of the sea­son.

Hav­ing seen him close up in the past, and now in train­ing at Wy­combe, Hayes be­lieves 26-yearold Ephraim should def­i­nitely still be play­ing at a higher level.

“It is a fan­tas­tic move for both par­ties,” he said. “I was very sur­prised to see he hadn’t been signed by a club at a higher level, and he should be play­ing higher than League Two, but the fact he’s not is good news for us.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic coup for the gaffer, but if you are do­ing well, play­ers will want to come and play for you. It is a tremen­dous sign­ing and a real morale booster. He is a very in­tel­li­gent player, very ad­ven­tur­ous, with ex­plo­sive pace.”

Hayes’ sev­enth goal of the sea­son helped Wy­combe come from be­hind to win the M40 derby at Ox­ford on Satur­day, putting them back at the top of the ta­ble.

The Chairboys take a break from league ac­tion this week­end in favour of the first round of the FA Cup.

Hayes has some fond mem­o­ries of the world’s old­est cup com­pe­ti­tion, not least in giv­ing Scun­thorpe the lead at Stam­ford Bridge in a third round tie 10 years ago.

He said: “I’ve been quite lucky with cup runs, play­ing against both Chelsea and Man City. At Stam­ford Bridge I didn’t ex­pect to get a chance the whole game, but scor­ing in front of our fans to put Scun­thorpe into the lead was phe­nom­e­nal. It’s what dreams are made of, but they had world-class play­ers, who all upped their games.”

Wy­combe’s op­po­nents on Satur­day are Con­fer­ence Premier lead­ers Bar­net, mean­ing a re­turn to The Hive, where the Chairboys scraped a 1-0 win in pre-sea­son.

Hayes added: “We will be favourites, but Bar­net are no mugs. They are a very wellor­gan­ised team, and in pre-sea­son they gave us a real run for our money. I had a feel­ing then that they would do well in the Con­fer­ence this sea­son.”

Photo by Ac­tion Images/David Field Livepic SYCOB; Uxbridge v Chal­font St Peter Holmer Green Re­serves v Cod­i­cote Did­cot Town Re­serves v Chal­font Wasps; Penn and Tylers Green v Rayn­ers Lane Buck­ing­ham Ath­letic United v Bea­cons­field SYCOB v New­port Pa

CLOSE TUS­SLES: Wy­combe’s Paul Hayes and Ox­ford’s Jake Wright in ac­tion at the Kas­sam Sta­dium; (in­set) Ho­gan Ephraim (right) with Ox­ford’s Johnny Mullins

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