BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
New Hearts signing Abiola Dauda insists hearing he was Robbie Neilson’s number one signing target for the transfer window was a ‘dream’ come true.
The Nigerian striker has signed on loan from Dutch top-flight side Vitesse Arnhem for the rest of the season following a busy day of dealings for the Tynecastle club.
The 27-year-old, who has scored three goals in 11 league appearances this season, could now make his debut in the white-hot atmosphere of Sunday’s Edinburgh derby against Hibernian in the Scottish Cup.
And the former Kalmar and Red Star Belgrade marksman is thrilled with the confidence Neilson has already given him following discussions in the build-up to the completion of his switch yesterday.
He said: “I spoke with the (head) coach on the phone and he gave me a good impression to come here.
“He told me what he wants from me and all that, and how good it would be for me and for them for me to come here.
“It was pleasing to hear (that I was his number one target). When I heard that I was like ‘wow’. When he called me and we spoke on the phone, he told me how much he had been following me for quite a while now.
“For me, that’s every player’s dream, to have a coach behind you, and all I have to do now is thank him and go on the pitch and prove him right that he made the right decision.”
Dauda says he wants to get his season ‘back on track’ and get more game-time following frustrations at Vitesse, but is also hopeful of making an instant impact at Hearts.
He added on Hearts TV: “I’ve heard a lot of talk about (Sunday). It’s a big derby for the fans and you always have to respect these games for the fans, because this is what they live for.
“I’ve also played in a derby before, so I know how it is and what it means to the fans.
“For me, I have to work hard in the training, to try to push myself and get to know the players, and we will see what happens on Sunday.”