Hughton banks on Rooney rise
CHRIS HUGHTON believes that his Irish signing Adam Rooney will only get better following his move to Birmingham City.
Dubliner Rooney was targeted by a number of clubs in Britain and on the continent after a stunning season last term which saw him score 21 goals in 42 games for Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
But newly appointed Birmingham boss Hughton won the race for Rooney's signature as he's agreed a two-year deal with City.
"He is by no means the finished article, but I look forward to working with him and helping him develop his game. It's a great challenge for him," said Hughton.
"We have signed a player who has started to prove that he can be a prolific goalscorer. He's found the back of the net regularly in the last couple of seasons, but is still improving.
"He has had a wonderful goal-scoring record over the last two campaigns and what I was impressed with was that he has done it at a club that don't have the resources of a Celtic or Rangers.
"What I have seen in him is a good work ethic. He is a lad who is desperate to learn and develop his game," added Hughton.
Rooney joined Stoke City as a teenager and made his first-team debut in an FA Cup tie in 2006, but he failed to get regular first team football at the club and had spells on loan to Yeovil, Chesterfield and Bury before finally leaving Stoke in 2008.
Inverness spent £50,000 to bring the Dubliner to Scotland and while he struggled to make an impact in his first season there, once he settled in he delivered goals for the club, scoring an amazing 47 goals in the past two seasons.
He will now aim to use his move to England to get his international career moving again: Rooney won his ninth and last U21 cap against Turkey in a qualifier last September and he will hope to force his way into the senior squad in the near future.
Inverness now have to try and replace Rooney, which manager Terry Butcher admits is a big task.
"Adam was fantastic for the club and I would like to think we were fantastic for him," Butcher said.
"It just shows when you come to Caley Thistle you can get a move to a big club in England. He's always going to be welcome in Inverness.
"The Adam Rooney era is over and we'll now have to find another one to fill the void."