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Fulham release Hayles

Fulham have released striker Barry Hayles.

The Jamaican international, who spent six years at Craven Cottage, scored 57 goals in 214 games having signed from Bristol Rovers in 1998 for £2m. Hayles helped Fulham to the Division Two and Division One titles and was the club’s top scorer on their return to the top flight.

A disappointed Hayles accused Fulham’s hierarchy of ‘stringing him along’.

He told the Western Mail: “I was very upset with the way I was treated by the club. I don’t feel I was shown enough respect considering the loyalty and service I gave them. I’m also not happy that neither the manager Chris Coleman nor the director who was meant to be dealing with my contract spoke to me about things. I felt they were both just stringing me along.”

The 32 year-old scored five goals in 30 appearances as Fulham finished ninth in the Premiership this season, including a memorable double in a 3-0 win at Tottenham.

Hayles hopes to keep starting spot

Barry Hayles hopes he has done enough to keep his place in Fulham’s starting line up – despite admitting he was bitterly disappointed not to find the net against Leeds.

Chris Coleman picked the Jamaican international ahead of Brian McBride for his first start in four matches and the 31 year-old striker felt he should have scored. Hayles told Fulham’s official website this morning:

“The manager took me to one side on Friday and told me he’d be putting me in and I’m grateful to him for that. I just wish I could have scored to stake a claim to the position. I went close a few times, especially with that header – I tried to plant it, to really pick my spot, but it just didn’t quite happen! But we’ve got a tough game coming up next week, everyone’s looking forward to it, and I’m just hoping that I can keep hold of the shirt.

Leeds are down at the bottom and they’re going to battle for everything. The manager said we had to match that, and I thought we did. Being the home side we had to press on and we did that too. We could have scored in the first half and could certainly have got a few more in the second.

Boa got through so many times – unfortunately a lot of the chances were on his right foot, if they’d been on his left he would probably have scored a few more. But all credit to him for making those runs. I thought we played well and made a lot of chances. That’s what the manager wanted; he made it very clear that we had to take the three points. He put the three up front and we really went for it.

We didn’t really let them have anything in the second half, and that’s all credit to the system and to the midfielders – I thought Leggy, Sean and Pembs were fantastic. They were picking up all the second balls and that meant we were making a lot of chances.”

Hayles believes Fulham could spring a surprise in the SW6 derby at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

“I think we play better away from home. And if we can take the confidence from this win into next week’s game then I think we’ve got a good chance of taking the three points and then we can really push on from there. This was an important win for us. The boys didn’t want to start feeling sorry for themselves and get into the frame of mind of just turning up for the sake of it. We’re aiming to finish at least top-eight and that’s what the boys are pushing for.

This was a massive, massive game for us and the manager really got the message over to us how important it was that we got the three points. We’ve got to thirty-nine points now and that means we can really look forward to the last ten games of the season with a lot of confidence.”

McBride magic sends Fulham into quarter finals

A sensational strike from Brian McBride turned this FA Cup fifth round replay on its head as West Ham wilted after dominated the first half and Fulham eased into the quarter finals. The Premier League side added late goals from Barry Hayles and Luis Boa Morte to book a trip to Old Trafford and provide manager Chris Coleman with a timely boost as he recovers from a leg infection.

This match, played on the anniversary of Bobby Moore’s passing, was an emotional affair and just as entertaining as the original tie between the two sides. Edwin van der Sar had arguably kept Fulham in the Cup as the Division One side carved out the clearer chances there and a similar pattern emerged in the first half here. The Dutch goalkeeper saved well from Kevin Horlock early on before Marlon Harwood rattled the base of the post and then was denied by a magnificent fingertip save in the twentieth minute.

David Connolly and Harewood spurned further opportunities to give Alan Pardew’s side the lead before Fulham finally hinted at their top flight quality. Moritz Volz extended Stephen Bywater with a snapshot from the right edge of the box and Luis Boa Morte then somehow sent a free header wide from Bobby Petta’s inviting cross just before half time. Bywater dashed from his line to prevent the Portuguese winger reaching a through ball just before the break as Fulham finished the half in more adventurous mood.

Malbranque wasted a good chance at the start of the second half when he failed to capitalise on being afforded too much time and space on the edge of the box by dragging his shot wide. Zat Knight then headed horribly high and wide after Carlos Bocanegra had flicked on a Sean Davis corner. Harewood miscued terribly when Connolly looked to have played him in, but West Ham were struggling to mount attacks with the same frequency as in the first half.

Davis drove wide from distance and Bywater made an excellent save from a low McBride shot as Fulham began to push the home side back. The breakthrough when it came was a sight to see as a forward ball from Bocanegra was beautifully controlled on his chest by McBride, who then volleyed majestically beyond Bywater. It was a goal worthy of winning any game and Fulham moved further ahead just three minutes later.

After Harewood had been denied by the feet of van der Sar, Fulham put clear water between themselves and their opponents when substitute Barry Hayles converted a Malbranque cross from close range. Boa Morte put the gloss on an excellent evening for Fulham he rifled home in the last minute as Fulham moved into the last eight after surviving a slow start.

WEST HAM UNITED (4-3-3): Bywater; Ferdinand, Dailly (Mellor 83), Quinn, Mullins; Horlock (Lee 79), Carrick, Etherington; Connolly, Deane (Lomas 73), Harewood. Subs (not used): Forde, Carole.

BOOKED: Horlock.

FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar, Volz, Bocanegra, Goma, Djetou (Knight 48); Legwinski, Davis (Pembridge 90), Malbranque; Boa Morte, Petta (Hayles 73), McBride. Subs (not used): Crossley, Inamoto.

GOALS: McBride (76), Hayles (79), Boa Morte (90).

REFEREE: Mike Riley (West Yorkshire).


Hayles targets Wolves win

Barry Hayles wants to end Fulham’s mini-slump with a win at bottom of the table Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend.

The Jamaican international told the club’s official website:

“It’s a massive game for us really and we’ve got to get back on track. That means that we’ve got to go there and get the three points, we’ve been unlucky on the road recently so we’ve got to put that right, starting at Wolves. We know it’s going to be a hard game. They’re fighting for their lives at the moment, they’re the home side as well and they’re going to be really up for it. They have shown some decent form at home this season so we know that we need to go there, play our game and work hard if we want to win it.

But we need this result, it’ll do us good, especially as the Villa game didn’t exactly go our way. We’re getting nearer to that 40 point mark now so we’ve got to get back to winning ways, simple as that. Fair enough, we haven’t scored many goals recently but I think that’s really just a blip. I think it’s all about sorting out the right team and the right formation and I know that Cookie will get it sorted.”

Hayles was pleased to be paired with Brian McBride when Chris Coleman departed from his usual 4-5-1 system in the FA Cup against West Ham last weekend – and felt there was positive signs for Fulham’s new-look front pairing.

“It was quite good, I think we could have played better as a team and upfront the pair of us worked hard but we didn’t click on the day. But I enjoyed playing with Brian upfront and I think, if we were to play it again, then I’m sure we’ll see the benefits.”

Clark marvels at Fulham’s forward options

Fulham captain Lee Clark says Brian McBride’s goalscoring debut has added to Chris Coleman’s forward options.

The American international came off the bench to prod home the winner against Tottenham on Saturday – and stake a claim to supplant Barry Hayles and Facundo Sava up front after Louis Saha’s departure.

Clark told Fulham’s official website:

“I was very impressed by him when he came on. I thought he linked up well, held the ball up, and obviously got the important goal. Hopefully we can keep creating lots of chances for him. But you’ve got to mention Barry as well, he’s doing well for the team – you’ve got to remember that the three games he’s started have been his first since August, so it’s important he gets a run in the team, and he’s getting his confidence back more and more each game.

“He’s a great team player, Barry, he works hard and does a lot of running for the others. He worked his socks off against Spurs and that’s appreciated in the dressing room – there’s good competition there now, because we’ve got Facundo as well, so everything’s looking very good.

Clark is now fully focused on Wednesday’s FA Cup replay against Everton, with a home tie against West Ham United lying in wait for the victors.

“There’s a great incentive for the winners. A home draw next and that’s all you can ask for. Whoever does win will have a tough game because West Ham are going very well and they’ve got some very good players, but all you can ask in a Cup competition is to be drawn at home.

We did well to get Everton back to Loftus Road, but I’ve got no thoughts that it’s going to be any easier now. I know it’s going to be very tough – things have been very even between us with a win each and a draw so far this season, but it’s a big opportunity for us to get on in a fantastic Cup competition and we’d like to progress. We’ve two home games to come if you like, and with our home form there’s no reason why we can’t do well.”