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Boss Expects Sako Stay


09:32 24th November 2012

Winger unlikely to head to African Nations

Boss Ståle Solbakken is not expecting Bakary Sako to be involved in the African Cup of Nations – and said any potential suitors keen on snapping him up after his impressive start to the season will also get nowhere.

Sako is already on seven goals for the season, as well as numerous assists, and has been a key figure for Wolves since his summer arrival, prompting speculation about interest from elsewhere.

He also qualifies for Mali internationally, who are involved in the January tournament, but has yet to play for them and Solbakken has previously suggested he should wait and see if he lands a chance with the French national team if he continues improving.

“I am 100 per cent confident we will keep him in January and we have no intention of letting him go unless something ridiculous comes up,” said the boss.

“I don’t think he has any thinking like that either – I speak to him a lot and he hasn’t mentioned anything so it is no theme for me at all.

“There is nothing yet that points in the direction that he will go to the African Nations Cup.

“He has never played for Mali so I don’t think that will be the case.

“I am quite hopeful that he will be with us.”

Solbakken continued:  “Sako has the potential to be a matchwinner in every game.

“Sometimes he can be a little bit more direct and take more chances while his thinking is maybe he doesn’t want to lose the ball.

“But we are telling him to sometimes ‘go on’ and we won’t kill you if you lose the ball.

“He is a winger in the last third of the pitch and we want him to take bigger chances sometimes so he can maybe be even more decisive and get more shots on goal and more crosses in.

“That is a balance to find, and when you have played a certain kind of football then it is difficult to change it.”

On the other side of the Wolves wing the boss has also admitted on-loan Jermaine Pennant has been “harshly done by” having been substituted early due to sendings off in the last two fixtures.

But he believes the winger is now ready to hit full throttle after getting games under his belt.

“Pennant has been harshly done by with me in the tactical sense,” he said.

“We spoke before the last game and he knows he has had his games now and his match fitness should be there.

“That should be enough to make sure he can get back to his best.

“It is not strange because he came in having played one game all season and so it takes time.”

Meanwhile the boss is also hopeful Zeli Ismail’s loan spell with MK Dons will prove the ideal way of continuing his development.

The 18-year-old has joined MK Dons on a youth loan until January 2.

“Zeli has trained with us a little bit and played reserve team football when he has been a little bit up and down,” said Solbakken.

“Maybe it is time now to see if he can go out and play some football.

“I think he felt it, I felt it and the agent felt it.

“Hopefully it will improve him and get him one step up.”





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