Hearts striker Abiola Dauda tipped to terrorise defences

Abiola Dauda

Abiola Dauda

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Abiola Dauda has been tipped to terrorise Scottish defences with his lightning pace and intelligent movement.

The Nigerian striker this week joined Hearts on loan from Vitesse Arnhem until the end of the season after struggling to command regular game time with the Dutch club.

Dauda, 28, earned his move to the Eredivisie in summer 2014 after a successful year-and-a-half stint with Red Star Belgrade in which he scored 15 goals in 31 appearances.

In his only full season in the Serbian capital (2013/14), he bagged 11 goals and helped Red Star win the SuperLiga title for the first time in seven years. Among Dauda’s colleagues in the Balkans was Nenad Milijas, the former Wolves defender.

“We played almost two years together at Red Star and he did really well there and helped us win the title,” Milijas told the Evening News. “Because of that, he got his move to Holland. His best quality is when he gets one against one. He is a very fast player who loves scoring goals. He is a good finisher and his movement is amazing. He opens very good space for himself and for runners around him. He understands how to play football and does all the right things.

“The supporters of Red Star liked him and I think the fans of Hearts will also like him. He will do well there, trust me.”

Dauda, who began his career with Swedish side Kalmar, has scored nine goals in his 18 months with Vitesse. Although restricted to just three starts this season, he has kept his match fitness levels up by featuring regularly off the bench recently. The striker is in line for a Scottish football baptism of fire in Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie at home to Hibs.

“British football is totally different,” said Milijas, speaking from experience. “British football is stronger, more powerful and it can be harder to get fouls from referees. Many people need time to adapt to it, but I think Abiola will adapt quickly and will play well there. I had a nice time him with him at Red Star and I hope the players at Hearts will also enjoy working with him. He speaks good English and he likes a laugh, so he shouldn’t have a problem fitting in. He is a really good guy.”