Barry Hayles to play for St Albans City against Stevenage

PROLIFIC striker Barry Hayles will play for St Albans City against one of his former clubs Stevenage - who are sending their Football League One first-team squad - as City conclude their attractive five-game series of home friendlies tonight (Wednesday).

Hayles will appear against the club with whom he began his professional career 18 years ago as he decides on where to enjoy the next phase of his long and distinguished career.

“We are delighted that Barry has agreed to come and appear for the club,” said City manager David Howell.

“It is no secret that we have been looking for strikers who can help us achieve our ambition of promotion from the Evo-Stik Southern Premier League level, as an offer by the club for Craig Hammond of Cambridge City last week showed.

“Barry definitely comes into that category, as his strike record down the years shows, and he is taking a look at us and we are taking a look at him before he commits himself for the coming season.

“He has had several good offers but I hope that once he experiences Clarence Park, the club, the fans and the squad I am assembling, he will see that being at an ambitious club will be an appealing option.”

Hayles played more than 150 games for Stevenage before moving to Bristol Rovers and then Fulham in a �2 million deal, helping them into the Premier League.

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More recently, he has been scoring the goals that helped Cornish side Truro City up from the Evo-Stik Premier into Blue Square South then kept them there last season.

“Barry has pedigree and experience at this level,” added Howell. “He could form a good partnership with Lewis Toomey, who is a young player with great talent and promise and who could benefit from such a wise figure to teach him a few things but we just have to wait and see how it turns out from both sides.”

Hayles and Toomey look set to start the game up front for a strong Saints outfit as Howell hones the side ready for Saturday’s key Herts Charity Cup tie at Royston Town.

After that, it will be Banbury United away for the start of the league season the following Saturday.

“We’re getting close now,” said Howell. “And we will be ready. I am closing on one or two signings that could be the final pieces in the jigsaw.

“I hope fans will come down to Clarence Park in numbers and see how my side is shaping up against such high-quality opposition as Stevenage and help us show what St Albans City are capable of this season, on and off the pitch.”