Altidore shrugs off swine flu scare to save Tigers

Hull City 1 Bolton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Football

After a fortnight of hanging around embassies, screaming babies, irate hotel guests and a swine flu scare, Jozy Altidore could have been forgiven for despairing when he discovered he had forgotten his boots for his long-awaited Hull debut.

The American forward, 19, signed on a season-long loan from Villarreal two weeks ago but was stuck in New York, where he rowed with other guests as he watched Hull's defeat at Chelsea on the lobby computer, due to visa problems and routine swine flu tests after international team-mate Landon Donovan contracted the virus after a friendly in Mexico.

He finally arrived in London on Friday and flew up to the KC Stadium in a helicopter but will stick with his new pair of boots, picked out by Hull kit-man Barry Lowe, after coming off the bench to set up Kamel Ghilas' goal with his first touch in English football.

The US international is quick, powerful and raw but his new manager Phil Brown, who will consider a permanent deal next summer, believes the player's hunger will give Hull an extra edge and Altidore has certainly proved as much over his long journey to East Yorkshire.

"Airport terminals, swine flu scares, babies crying on the plane, it's all been a little bit crazy," Altidore said. "But it was all about getting here and contributing to the team as much as possible. It's been very frustrating not being able to do anything proper for the last two weeks. I was running around embassies, listening to hearings, running around with passport photos, running when I can on the treadmill. I was keeping in touch with team-mates the best I could and tweeting all my frustrations.

"I was losing faith. I thought it was all going to be for nothing, but a lot of people worked their tails off to bring me here, the lawyers, chairman, gaffer, they all did a great job and I appreciate it. This is what I've been waiting for – a chance to prove my worth."

He certainly did that on Saturday, helping transform a game that Bolton dominated to earn a first home victory of the calendar year. He lifted the ball over Zat Knight for Algerian forward Ghilas, who failed a medical at Blackburn before joining Hull in a £1.7m deal from Celta Vigo, to finish. Ghilas later hit the bar to further underline the difference in cutting edge compared to a Bolton team that failed to convert any of their 18 efforts on goal, leading to their supporters turning on manager Gary Megson.

"We hear it," the captain Kevin Davies said. "It doesn't help but after two games we have got no points, so you have got to expect it. We have been in this situation before. We are where we are but I think we all need to be pulling in the same direction to get us out of it."

Hull City (4-5-1) Myhill; Zayatte, Gardner, Turner, Dawson; Ghilas (Fagan, 86), Olofinjana, Geovanni (Boateng, 81), Kilbane, Hunt; Folan (Altidore, 60). Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Mouyokolo, Barmby, Halmosi.

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2) Jaaskelainen; Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson (Samuel, 78); M Davies (Ward, 81), Davis, Muamba, Taylor; K Davies, Elmander (Lee, 71). Substitutes not used: Steinsson, McCann, Shittu, Al Habsi (gk).

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Booked: Hull City Hunt, Olofinjana, Geovanni; Bolton Wanderers Davis, Elmander.

Man of the match: Muamba.

Attendance: 22,999.