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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Ex-Carlisle Utd star Francois Zoko in talks with Notts County

Former Carlisle United star Francois Zoko’s search for a new club has led him to talks with the Blues’ League One rivals Notts County.

Francois Zoko photo
Francois Zoko

The Ivorian quit Carlisle at the end of last season because he wanted to try to find a club in the Championship.

But with no takers in the second tier for Zoko so far, the African forward is considering his options in United’s division.

Long-time admirers Preston retain an interest in the 28-year-old but Notts are now stepping up their pursuit.

Zoko, who has been training on his own in Carlisle, was a spectator at the Magpies’ pre-season friendly against Scarborough and has spoken to manager Keith Curle.

Curle has since confirmed that Zoko is a target, but any move to Meadow Lane could now hinge on whether County can meet the frontman’s wage demands.

Blues boss Greg Abbott, meanwhile, has cited the exciting rise of home-grown teenager Brad Potts as the reason behind the “difficult” decision to axe trialist Jon Meades.

The Blues manager has been so impressed by the pre-season form of versatile Potts that he decided not to offer Meades a deal.

Meades, the former Cardiff City defender, had caught Abbott’s eye during his summer spell with the Blues and his ability to play on the right and left of defence looked to be working in his favour.

But Hexham-born 18-year-old Potts’ star showing at right-back in last Friday’s victory against St Mirren convinced Abbott that the former youth team star is ready for first-team consideration.

And with Italian left-back prospect Alessio Bugno likely to be offered a deal with the Blues, there was no longer a place for Meades in Abbott’s plans.

Bugno and Darlington forward Dale Hopson have been given an extra week with United, putting both in the frame to stay with the club.

On Meades, Abbott said: “It wasn’t an easy decision at all.

“We had to look closely at him but we felt the emergence of Brad Potts as cover at right back has been a real bonus.

“The performances of Alessio on the other side means we need a longer look at him and it left us with this massive decision to make.”

Abbott has sounded out other clubs about Meades’ availability and will hand Bugno and Hopson another outing against Middlesbrough at Brunton Park this Friday.

Ex-Newcastle frontman Ryan Donaldson will rejoin the Blues for training tomorrow and could also feature against Boro.

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