Dale Jenkins profiles the new arrivals at Adams Park this summer, starting with Paul Hayes.
The first new face through the Adams Park doors this summer was a familiar face to Chairboys supporters as ex-striker Paul Hayes signed a two year contract with the Buckinghamshire club.
A seasoned striker, Hayes has played in all three levels of the Football League, making 366 starts and 121 substitute appearances in all competitions, scoring 118 goals for a total of ten different clubs.
After failing to make a single first team appearance for his first club, Norwich City, Hayes left for Scunthorpe United in December 2002 and immediately proved a point to the Canaries with a successful spell at Glanford Park, scoring 27 goals in 99 appearances.
Nineteen of those goals came in the 2004/05 season which saw the Iron promoted to the third tier. His goalscoring exploits had not gone unnoticed and he transferred to fellow League One club Barnsley in the summer of 2005, where he enjoyed another prosperous season. The striker scored in the League One play-off final against Swansea City and also converted a penalty in a shoot-out win to help the Tykes earn promotion to the second tier.
The gradual ascent up the Football League continued and Hayes scored five more times for Barnsley during the 2006/07 Championship season. Gradually he fell out of favour, resulting in a loan move to Huddersfield Town in February 2007 where he scored a solitary goal in just four appearances.
Scunthorpe, now a Championship club, came calling for their ex-talisman in March 2007 and Hayes duly returned for a second stint. This spell proved as successful as the first, but Hayes could not prevent the Iron slipping back to League One despite five goals in the final three games of the season. The 2008/09 season was one to remember however, as he netted 19 times and also won the Player of the Season award as Scunthorpe made an immediate return to the Championship.
By now Hayes had established himself as a Championship player, signing for Preston North End in May 2010 on a three year deal. In a less successful year Hayes scored just twice for the Lilywhites, and returned to Barnsley on loan before joining his seventh club in the shape of Charlton Athletic in 2011.
Opportunities became sparse under Chris Powell at the Valley but Hayes still scored nine times in the 2011/12 season, a testament to his goalscoring credentials. Charlton Athletic cantered to the League One title but Hayes profited most out on loan at Wycombe. Arriving alongside Gary Doherty from Charlton, Gary Waddock seized the chance to bring the forward in on loan to partner Stuart Beavon.
Six of those nine goals came on loan at Adams Park as the Beavon-Hayes partnership enjoyed a breathtaking six game spell between February and March 2012. Hartlepool suffered first as the pair both scored braces in a 5-0 thrashing in front of 4,408 at Adams Park. The goalscoring exploits continued as both netted in a 4-1 thrashing of Bury at Gigg Lane and then again in a 3-1 win at Exeter City just three days later. Hayes’ superb form saw him recalled by Charlton manager Chris Powell but he was again used sparingly.
Brentford snapped up Hayes in August 2012 and the forward continued to prove his ability to score goals wherever he played, adding a further six goals as the season ended in agony for the Bees. Another fellow Chairboy Marcello Trotta missed a last minute penalty which would have secured Brentford promotion against Doncaster, but instead the opposition broke down the other end to snatch promotion at Griffin Park in an incredible finale. There was further heartache as Yeovil Town defeated the London club in the play-off final at Wembley.
Loan spells followed at Crawley Town and Plymouth Argyle but injuries took their toll and a lull in form saw Hayes fail to score a single goal in Devon before he returned to Scunthorpe for a third spell in December 2013. His debut at Mansfield Town yielded two more debut goals, the first of which was a spectacular 35 yard volley. Hayes scored four goals in the 2013-14 season as Scunthorpe were again promoted to the third tier.
Gareth Ainsworth pulled off a huge coup as Hayes re-signed for the Wanderers on 14th May 2014. Blues fans will now hope to see the experienced striker link up with Matt McClure in a potentially exciting partnership and League Two defences will need to be on red alert.