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Bruce tips Rodallega for big things

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03 May 2009 13:45:11

Bruce tips Rodallega for big things

Rodallega, a £5million signing from Mexican club Necaxa, has now gone 11 Premier League matches without scoring since his arrival in January. But for a touch more luck - he smashed a free-kick against the crossbar on his debut against Liverpool - he could already have at least a couple of goals. And had it not been for the impressive form of Wanderers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen he would have celebrated his maiden strike on Saturday. The 23-year-old almost squeezed a shot past the Finn in the second minute, with the ball squirming through the goalkeeper's grip and rebounding off a post. Later in the half Rodallega was denied low to Jaaskelainen's right-hand post after Antonio Valencia had flicked the ball on. He was a willing runner all afternoon and Bruce, who knows the South American needs time to settle, can see a development in his play. "It's probably about the sixth time Hugo has hit the woodwork since his first game for us against Liverpool, and that kind of sums up his luck at the moment," he said. "The kid needs a goal but I've seen enough to know that he'll be a really good acquisition for us. "He's bright, lively and when he does get his goal he'll be fine. "His industry, creativity and link-up play with Mido in the first half was terrific, and if he continues to perform like that I'll be very happy." Bolton had their chances to win the match, with Gary Cahill's deflected shot crashing back off the crossbar in the first half and Kevin Davies swinging a left-footed strike well over after the break when he had more time to pick his spot. Matt Taylor had the ball in the net just before the interval but it was ruled out for offside, although manager Gary Megson felt television replays showed he was just level. The point made little difference to either side's standing in the table, although it meant Megson had to wait a while longer before he could safely say his team were safe - despite the eight-point gap between them and the bottom three. "We are limping across the line but I don't see anyone sprinting across it," he said. "I see some going backwards and some stalling. We can't turn around and say we have done enough." Centre-back Cahill credited Jaaskelainen with playing a big part in keeping them in the game in the first half. Not only did he deny Rodallega twice, he also turned Charles N'Zogbia's left-footed drive around the post and superbly tipped over Mido's curling 25-yard effort. "He did well. I don't know what happened with the first save, I don't know whether he was stuck in the mud or not," he said. "After that he was superb again and pulled off some vital saves for us, like he has done a lot of times this season. "He had a massive part to play in the clean sheet, as did the whole team, and we always have a base to build on and if we could have nicked a couple of half-chances we would have got three points. "He is a good shot-stopper, you are always confident with shots from long distance he is going to pull off something and he has done it a few times this season."


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