Allardyce takes chance on Bridges

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The Independent Online

Sam Allardyce, the Bolton manager, yesterday signed the Leeds United striker Michael Bridges on a year's contract with an option of another 12 months.

Sam Allardyce, the Bolton manager, yesterday signed the Leeds United striker Michael Bridges on a year's contract with an option of another 12 months.

Bridges, 25, spent the second half of last season on loan to Newcastle United from financially crippled Leeds, who were relegated to the First Division. He will officially join Bolton on 1 July after his contract at Elland Road expires.

Bridges will be looking to get his career back on track under Allardyce, who has a growing reputation of being a master in that field, having resurrected the careers of Youri Djorkaeff and Kevin Davies. Bridges arrived at Leeds in a £5m move from Sunderland, two weeks before the start of 1999/2000 season.

His career, however, was disrupted in October 2000 when a succession of serious injuries ruled him out of action for nearly two years. Calf and Achilles injuries ended his 2000/01 season; knee surgery followed.

Now he cannot wait to get started at Bolton. "I am delighted with the move," he said. "I was impressed by everything at Bolton, the gaffer, the stadium and the players at the club. I had a few offers from other clubs, but Sam's influence and their status in the Premiership was a major factor in the move. I am looking forward to playing - with the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha feeding me the chances to score, it is exciting.

"It is a massive challenge. Bolton are on the way up considering how they finished last season and that was a big plus point for me."

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