Former Premier League striker Barry Hayles to sign for St Albans City

EXPERIENCED striker Barry Hayles has given St Albans City a huge boost on the eve of the new season by agreeing to sign Evo-Stik Southern Premier League forms for the club.

Hayles is manager David Howell’s latest addition to the squad as City seek a potent blend for a promotion campaign.

“After weighing up all his options, Barry has decided that St Albans City represent the best option for him to achieve something significant as his career winds down,” said Howell. “I am delighted we have persuaded him to join.”

Hayles began his career at county rivals Stevenage, for whom he played more than 150 games.

It led to a move to Bristol Rovers before Fulham paid �2 million for him.

After helping the Lilywhites into the Premier League, there came spells at Sheffield United, Millwall, Leicester City, Plymouth and Cheltenham.

Most recently, Barry - whose League career saw him play more than 600 games and score almost 200 goals - has been playing for Cornish side Truro City.

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Over two seasons, his 26 goals in 63 appearances helped Truro to become champions of the Evo-Stik Premier then keep them in the Blue Square South last season.

“He’s still a very fit guy and as well as goals, Barry will bring a lot of nous,” said Howell. “It means that we now have experience and leadership right through the side, though defence, midfield and attack, to go with the youth and energy we also possess.

“Barry has the potential to be a talisman for us and will hold the ball up front. Young Lewis Toomey should certainly benefit from his presence. We now have good options in every department.”

Hayles’s quality was apparent in his friendly appearance against Stevenage last week in creating the City goal for Toomey.

“We’re getting there,” added Howell. “I would hope we go into the opener at Banbury on Saturday with a strong squad that will challenge for promotion this season.”