By Kevin Affleck
Hayden Mullins is delighted with the impact Sam Dalby has made since joining from Leeds United.
The out-and-out centre-forward, 19, signed a two-year deal with the option of a third year this summer and he has wasted no time in showing why the Hornets moved quickly to secure his services.
He slammed in a hat-trick against RB Leipzig Under-19s in Germany on Saturday and followed that up with a really smart, instinctive left-foot finish in the 2-0 win over Wingate & Finchley on Saturday.
“He’s a big strong boy and links the play really well and is real tidy in possession,” said Mullins, the Lead Under-23 Professional Coach. “He got a nice hat-trick in Germany and got a good one against Wingate. It must be nice for him to be in good goal-scoring form as the main thing strikers want to be doing is hitting the back of the net. It's a brilliant start for him.”
Dalby was well known to Academy Manager Richard Thomas and Under-23 Assistant Coach Omer Riza from their time together at Leyton Orient so he came highly recommended.
“He has come in from Leeds and is an honest willing boy who really helps the team in and out of possession,” said Mullins. “He starts the press and is very reliable with the ball at his feet: we can play into him and he gives us a nice option as it sticks when it goes up to him. But he knows where the goal is too and is a welcome addition.”
Dalby’s hat-trick was the highlight of a three-day trip to Germany last week where an Under-23 side played Leipzig and also got an insight into how the Bundesliga outfit do things.
“It was a very good trip, an excellent trip for our boys to experience a different culture,” said Mullins. “Leipzig’s philosophy is that they press and win the ball back in five seconds and score in ten. They really get after you. It was a great experience for our lads against a very fit and organised side. We went there and applied ourselves very well.”
The Under-23s are building up a nice head of steam ahead of the Professional Development League opener against Hull City at Vicarage Road on Monday, August 12.
“We’ve had a really good bunch of games,” said Mullins. “Things didn't go how we wanted against Wealdstone but we had a lot of trialists. We had a good game against St Albans, we’ve then gone to Leipzig and done well there and now we've played another men’s side in Wingate. We’ve now got Arsenal on Saturday and then perhaps another game against decent European opposition in the week, so it’s been a great level of opponent and the boys are really enjoying it.”