PLY­MOUTH KEEN ON EX-FOR­EST MAN­AGER

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Isaac Wil­liam

Di­rec­tor of foot­ball Damien Co­molli has had spells at Tot­ten­ham and then Liver­pool and has al­ways po­larised opin­ion. But he has a proven record for find­ing gems and Sako was one of his next big things when he moved to Saint-Eti­enne in 2009.

This sum­mer, Sako moved to Wolves, mak­ing an im­pact by scor­ing on both his first ap­pear­ance in the League Cup tie against Northamp­ton as well as his league de­but against Cardiff.

And a se­ries of im­pres­sive per­for­mances from him have been one of the few plusses for Wolves fol­low­ing their un­der­whelm­ing start to life back in the Cham­pi­onship. But Sako, a former France U21 in­ter­na­tional, says he has come to Eng­land to play in the Pre­mier League.

Chal­lenge

“In 2009 Saint-Eti­enne sport­ing di­rec­tor Damien Co­molli came to re­cruit me – I signed a four-year deal and that’s where my game really took off,” he said.

“Ini­tially I wasn’t hugely keen to join Wolves af­ter their rel­e­ga­tion from the Pre­mier League, but when I was ex­plained the chal­lenge to get im­me­di­ately pro­moted I found it much more at­trac­tive.

“When I ar­rived at the club it was quite tense as there hadn’t been many good re­sults in a while but we be­gan to win some matches and weren’t too badly-placed in the ta­ble. But then we went through an­other dif­fi­cult time where we went nine games with­out a win un­til we beat Bris­tol City 4-1 away.

“It was a real re­lief to get that win be­cause we had been search­ing for it for quite some time – we needed to start win­ning to get the con­fi­dence back among the group and in the chang­ing rooms. The aim is to get pro­moted back to the Pre­mier League, and even though we’re not in a great po­si­tion there are a lot of games left and I think we can do it. “At the moment we don’t look wellplaced, but if we can string to­gether a good se­quence of re­sults then we will quickly find our­selves to­wards the top of the ta­ble.”

With high-pro­file de­par­tures such as Steven Fletcher and Matt Jarvis, as well many new ar­rivals in­clud­ing man­ager Stale Sol- bakken, the 24-year-old has had to ad­just to life in Eng­land fast.

Al­ready he can see him­self stay­ing long-term and while the pres­sure on Sol­bakken is in­creas­ing as each week goes by, Sako be­lieves the man­ager needs to be given time to prove him­self.

He added:“I think I have set­tled well in Eng­land – it’s not the same foot­ball as in France, it’s dif­fer­ent, you have to adapt and I would like to think that I have man­aged to do that from the start.

“I plan on stay­ing in Eng­land, I ap­preci- ate the coun­try and the peo­ple and I hope to have a long ca­reer over here.

“I have a good re­la­tion­ship with the man­ager, he has con­fi­dence in me and I have con­fi­dence in him, and I think it’s a good thing. I think he is un­der some pres­sure to suc­ceed be­cause Wolves is a big club – all the man­agers who come here are un­der pres­sure to do well, but I think the club and the play­ers trust him. For the time be­ing then he shouldn’t feel threat­ened in his job at all.” SACKED Not­ting­ham For­est man­ager Sean O’Driscoll has emerged as a can­di­date for a role as di­rec­tor of foot­ball at Ply­mouth Ar­gyle.

The League Two strug­glers are keen to pro­vide ex­pe­ri­enced help for young boss Carl Fletcher.

John Ward turned down the role to take over as man­ager of Bris­tol Rovers, but Ar­gyle di­rec­tor Colin Sex­s­tone re­vealed a list of can­di­dates had been drawn up.

Fletcher played for O’Driscoll when he was at AFC Bournemouth and O’Driscoll had been lined up for the role be­fore tak­ing charge at the City Ground.

“We want to move quickly, but we also want to do it cor­rectly,” said Sex­s­tone.

“We have had more in­ter­est­ing can­di­dates come up that we haven’t had be­fore, so we are go­ing to have a chat with them. I would say there is a stand-out can­di­date but there are a cou­ple of com­pli­ca­tions, so we have to work on that.

“There were a num­ber of peo­ple who are in work who have ap­proached us, but maybe they weren’t quite right for us.

“It’s al­ways a com­pli­ca­tion when you have to get out from an­other club.”

On O’Driscoll, Fletcher added: “He only got sacked on Box­ing Day so it is very fresh.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

FRENCH RE­SIS­TANCE: Bakary Sako says Wolves have a chance. In­set, man­ager Stale Sol­bakken

SPOT­TER: Co­molli

TAR­GET: Sean O’Driscoll

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