New signing will be a ‘real morale booster’
Striker praises Chairboys boss for snapping up Ephraim
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.”
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