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Ndoye makes presence felt on first Blues outing.

Byline: BRIAN DICK

HAPOEL 0 BLUES 2 BIRMINGHAM City's band of followers saw two of their three new faces for the first time in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona.

They had to wait until the second half at the Stadion Stegersbach to catch a first glimpse of David Stockdale - and a little longer for the impressively-constructed Cheikh Ndoye to lollop on to the pitch.

He got around, be a big mauler he will put there, win challenges... imposing But once he was there he was unmistakable presence, tall, rangy and ready to win the ball at every opportunity.

Harry Certainly he caught Redknapp's eye.

"[It was] Ndoye's first game, we had the wardrobe before, I think we call him the settee," the manager quipped.

"He got around, he will be a big mauler in there, he will put his foot in there, win tackles, win challenges, pass it okay, strong in the air, imposing figure. He will break up attacks for you."

Indeed once Ndoye recovered from an early misplaced pass his telescopic legs and strength on the ball were what caught the eye.

Against a team who had spent the previous hour snapping into tackles with little attention to the niceties of their legality, they had very little change out of the Senegal international.

More than once a Shmona player bounced off Ndoye and stood no prospect of circumnavigating 'The Settee' to actually win the ball.

His contribution to Blues this term is going to be intriguing.

Stockdale was rather less involved, thanks to Blues' increasing control of what had been a difficult match.

he will in there, his foot in tackles, win an figure Redknapp Even when Jacques Maghoma put the English team ahead it was against a backdrop of chances at the other end.

Only the excellence of Stockdale's first-half predecessor Tomasz Kuszczak kept Kiryat Shmona at bay.

Stockdale's most telling contribution was the ease with which he distributed the ball.

His ability with his feet will stand Birmingham in good stead as they try to build from the back.

They built down the left for the decisive goal - on the hour as Josh Dacres-Cogley and Clayton Donaldson combined to set up Kerim Frei on the edge of the area. The Turkey international drove a deflected shot home to subdue difficult opponents. All of which left Redknapp contemplating a decent seven days as he gets to really know his players - and as he makes headway in supplementing them.

"It's been a positive week," he said.

"The lads have been good, we will go back next week, hopefully one or two new faces coming in again, keep improving and by the time the first game comes around we will be up and ready to go hopefully.

"I am excited, it's good when you are trying to build a team, it's non-stop you are on the phone all day trying to get people over the line. I am pleased with the three that have come in - and when the other six come in we will be okay!" HAPOEL: Itamar, Abu Abid, Cuellar, Diniz, Radivojevic, Shamir, Brussou, Hasselbaink, Gozlan, Ahmed, Azulay.

BLUES (first-half): Kuszczak; Dacres-Cogley, M Morrison, Roberts, Grounds; R Morrison, Gardner, Davis, Maghoma; Adams, Jutkiewicz.

BLUES (second-half): Stockdale; Nsue, Shotton, Robinson, Dacres-Cogley (Keita 61); Frei, Kieftenbeld, Gardner (Ndoye 61), Gleeson; Fabbrini, Donaldson.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 17, 2017
Words:556
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