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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Ex-Carlisle Utd ace Zoko warns teammates

Former Blues favourite Francois Zoko has warned his Notts County team-mates to ignore Carlisle United’s struggles, insisting: They can beat anyone.

Zoko photo
Francois Zoko, left, with team-mate Andre Boucaud

The Ivorian frontman, who will face Carlisle for the second time today (Meadow Lane, 3pm), says he knows too much about Greg Abbott’s side to underestimate them.

The Cumbrians are winless in four and in urgent need of a victory to hold off the threat of being sucked back into the relegation fight.

But Zoko, who scored against his old club at Brunton Park during a 4-0 win in October, told News & Star Sport that United can never be taken for granted.

He said: “I know this team and if anybody thinks it is not difficult for us because Carlisle haven’t won for a few games, they are wrong.

“Carlisle had a good win at Tranmere a few weeks ago and they have good players. I know Greg Abbott and I know they are a team who can struggle for couple of weeks but then win their next game.

“They can beat every team in the league. My team-mates know this. We have to respect Carlisle.”

Zoko, who has scored eight goals for the Magpies after leaving Carlisle last summer, barely celebrated after his goal at Brunton Park last autumn but says he will not hold back if he gets another in front of the County fans today.

“This weekend is not the same,” he said. “When I scored at Carlisle, at their stadium, in front of the Carlisle fans in their city, I don’t celebrate because I want to show my feeling for the fans.

“There are a lot of people I appreciate at Carlisle. Every time I go there it will be special because it was my first team in England.

“But I also have to show respect to my fans here. If I score in front of the Notts County fans I will celebrate because this is at home.”

United’s 10th placed opponents are today bidding to reignite their play-off hopes and 29-year-old Zoko says victory is vital for Chris Kiwomya’s side against the Blues.

He added: “I always look for Carlisle’s result and I am pleased to see Rory [Loy] coming back to score, also Becky [Mark Beck] scoring a few and the keeper Mark [Gillespie] doing well. I will be happy to see all the guys. But we now have two games at home and we have to take six points.

“ In the last two games we have played really good and we hope to continue this level.

“For me the football has not always been what I expected – I played more on the wing which is not my best position, but I do it for the team.

“But now with the new manager I look forward, and in the last two games I play more in the position I like and I’m very happy with that.”

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