Zoko finding feet after step into the unknown

Francois Zoko
Francois Zoko
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Francois Zoko is starting to feel at home at Blackpool, even though he’s in a totally new role.

The striker from the Ivory Coast fired his first goal for the Seasiders to seal victory over Cardiff last Friday and has missed only one game this season.

The 31-year-old scored 18 for Stevenage in League One last season but doesn’t expect such a strikerate in his more defensive role at Bloomfield Road.

He explained: “I try every time to do better than the last day, week or season.

“My position isn’t quite the same as I played last season and scored all the goals.

“But the number of goals I score doesn’t matter. The big thing is to think about the collective, and I am willing to work hard wherever the manager chooses to play me.

“I’ve played on the wings. It’s not my best position but I do it for the team.

“Sometimes I want to go forward but I can’t because I have to keep the shape.

“I knew that if I stuck to the plan I’d get a chance to score and I took it.

“It was my first chance for a few games and I’m really pleased. I’m happy to play anywhere I’m needed.”

Zoko’s goal lifted Pool off the foot of the Championship and he added: “It felt very good to get my first goal but it was more important to win.

“I knew as soon as I got the ball I was going for goal. It’s the first real chance I’d had in a Blackpool shirt.

“It was a good moment to celebrate in front of the fans.

“When you arrive at a new club your first goal is always memorable. To score and get the win is brilliant for the team.”

Pool’s players have been given four days off before training resumes on Monday.

And although Zoko is pleased for the rest, he feels the timing could have been better because Pool had begun to gain momentum on the pitch.

“I don’t think the international break has come at a good time for us,” he said.

“But in the first (international) break we improved a lot because we were able to work hard, and I think we’ll be able to do that again.

“We are making real progress now and it’s because we’ve worked so hard.

“Before the first international break we had no points. Now we have six, so that’s progress.”