01 Nov Bony brace
Wilfried Bony’s lean spell ended with a brace against former employers Swansea and Stoke boss Mark Hughes hopes it will be the start of a goal glut for the Ivorian.
Bony and ex-Swans midfielder Joe Allen haunted their old team by playing key roles in the Potters’ 3-1 victory at the bet365 Stadium, which left Bob Bradley’s side five points adrift of safety.
It had been 310 days since Bony’s last goal on Boxing Day and the one-time leading scorer in the Eredivisie, who netted 25 times in his first season with the Swans, had failed to rediscover his touch at the start of his season-long loan from Manchester City.
However, having once gone seven games without scoring at the start of his second term with Swansea before following that up with nine in 15, Hughes hopes a similar streak can now be replicated in Staffordshire.
“I think everyone suspected they’d have an impact,” Hughes said of Bony and Allen.
“I’m pleased for Wilfried, his general play has been good, all he was lacking in his performances was a goal.
“He’s thankfully got up and running now. I think he had a similar period when he was at Swansea but once he started scoring it was a case of he couldn’t stop. Hopefully it will be a case of history repeating itself.
“Wilfried’s a big character, a big personality, he’s been great around the place. There was some nonsense when he first came suggesting he was a bad influence, I don’t know where the hell that came from because it certainly wasn’t the case.
“He’s very popular and you could see the reaction when he scored, everyone was really pleased when he got off the mark.”
The fact that two of their former stars plotted Swansea’s downfall would not have been easy to stomach for a fanbase who yearned for a reunion with Allen when he was available this summer, while Bony has now scored four times against them since leaving in 2015 too.
This defeat, which saw Swans defender Alfie Mawson score an own goal after Wayne Routledge had cancelled out Bony’s early opener, leaves Bradley with one point from his three games in charge.
“For any team, no matter where you coach, if a team’s gone through a bad stretch, it’s about challenging players the right way so you can get some results and some confidence,” Bradley said.
“There’s no magic for that, it’s just a test of everybody’s determination and character every day and, let’s face it, that’s where we are. We don’t hide from that.
“It’s a huge job, I knew that from the start. When there’s a managerial change it’s because things haven’t gone well, so when you come in and you look at fixtures lying ahead it’s not like you do it with the guarantee of points.
“In the Premier League there are no free points. You win games with some combination of your football and mentality. I don’t think we were good enough in either category so we didn’t take any points.”