PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers vs Burton Albion
BRISTOL Rovers new-boy Omuare Tounkara says he is ready for the rough and tumble of life in League Two after joining John Ward's survival charge by signing a short-term deal yesterday.
Tounkara, 22, who has been a free agent since being released by Premier League side Sunderland, was handed an opportunity to get his career back on track by Ward after being offered a chance to remain at the Memorial Stadium until the end of the season.
The French striker has been training alone in France since last summer, but says he is already fully versed in the physical nature of the English game following a season-long loan spell at Oldham two years ago.
Tounkara said: "I'm very excited to be here. My agent was talking to the manager here about me so I came for a few days of training and it is all happened from there.
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"I've been training alone in France for eight months, but I know about the game in England. I was here for three years before and I played on loan at Oldham in League One where I had a full season of games. I should be fine."
Tounkara is expected to play some part in proceedings when in-form Burton Albion visit the Memorial Stadium tomorrow.
He added: "I can't wait for Saturday to show the supporters what I can do. I'm here for two months and we'll see what happens after that.
"I'm just concentrating on the next few games and not really thinking too much about the future."
Tounkara first arrived in England as a triallist for Sunderland in 2009 and impressed sufficiently to earn a permanent contract. A senior appearance for the Premier League side never materialised, but Tounkara scored eight times in 52 games for Oldham and he said: "I don't set (goal) targets.
"I'll try everything I can to make sure I score some goals because that is my job. I'm quite big and strong and I like to hold the ball up. I'm quite fast and I like to try and get in behind, so I hope the supporters won't be disappointed."
Midfielder John-Joe O'Toole, meanwhile, insists Rovers are not too downhearted following their narrow defeat at the hands of Northampton on Tuesday night.
"We got a good point at Morecambe and were a bit unlucky to lose at Northampton on Tuesday night," said O'Toole. "We're in the sort of form where we'll pick up points, so I'm not worried.
"We have to stay positive, there is no point beating ourselves up. We were obviously disappointed to lose the game on Tuesday night, but we just have to move onto the next game and think about picking up another three points."
O'Toole also had words of encouragement for midfield partner Seanan Clucas after it was confirmed earlier this week that he is to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury at Morecambe last weekend.
"All the lads are gutted for him because he had been doing really well for us. I've had a long-term injury and it is not a nice thing to have to deal with. He'll be fine. He just has to accept it and get his head down and work hard throughout the recovery period.
"If there is ever a time to do it, it is when you are young like Seanan. He has plenty of time in front of him and he will come back even stronger after it."