Barry Hayles - The new hero of Cornish football

By Ross EllisBBC Radio Cornwall
Barry Hayles
Hayles scored 57 goals in six years at Fulham

In the six months since joining Truro City, former Premier League striker Barry Hayles has won a place in the hearts of Cornish football fans.

The 38-year-old has scored 17 goals for the Tigers, helping to propel them to the top of the Southern Premier League tableexternal-link.

His influence at Treyew Road is unmistakable, with plaudits coming in from across the board.

Truro manager and Hayles' former team-mate Lee Hodges said: "Barry is exceptional at leading the line, not only that, he's putting the ball in the back of the net as well."

"He's settled in extremely well," continued Hodges. "He's been a great boost for the club and his experience speaks for itself."

Hodges and Hayles first teamed up at Plymouth Argyle, when the Jamaican international joined the Devon club from Millwall in 2006.

And when the veteran front-man was released by Cheltenham Town last May, Hodges wasted no time in making his move.

Hodges said: "Dave Newton, my assistant, says I'll never make a better signing and he's probably right."

Hayles, who's previous clubs include Stevenage and Leicester City, arrived at Treyew Road on a non-contract basis last September, but having scored twice in his first month, he agreed to stay until the end of the season.

One night in particular stands out for fans of the Cornish club, Tuesday 22 February 2011, when Hayles hit a hat-trick as Truro defeated promotion rivals Salisbury City 6-0 away from home.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying it," said Hayles. "The standard is good but I'm just loving my football and the goals just seem to keep on flowing."

There are only four games remaining for Truro to maintain pole position in the Southern Premier League.

If they do go up to the Conference South, Truro will create a new English league record, becoming the first team to achieve five promotions in six seasons.

And with Hayles on top form, the prospect of the Tigers achieving that feat could be within their reach.