Bakary Sako is a man who is enjoying a new lease of life under the guidance of Roy Hodgson, leading to plenty hoping (including the man himself) that he gets the chance to sign a new deal at Selhurst Park.
After scoring two very important goals against Aston Villa and Chelsea respectively at the start of his Palace career, the Mali international hit something of a roadblock in SE25. Lacking in game-time and general match fitness it had looked as though his days at Selhurst Park were numbered but thanks to an attacking crisis, his fortunes have been miraculously turned around by the coaching of a certain Roy Hodgson.
With Christian Benteke having suffered a knee injury just a couple of weeks into the 70-year-old’s reign as Palace boss, he was left with little option but to scour the current crop of players for a suitable short-term striker to fill the Belgian’s boots, settling on the sizeable frame of Bakary.
At first, it was an experiment that drew derision from sections of the Palace support but fast-forward a few months and the former Wolves man is the club’s top scorer in the 2017-18 season with six goals to his name, alongside a goals per minute ratio that the most lethal finishers across the division would be happy to see next to their name.
On the face of things, Roy hasn’t changed a great deal about Sako’s game, encouraging him to run at defenders, shoot on sight and generally be a nuisance at the head of the side but Bakary’s energy and application has made for a pleasant change from normality and seen him showered with love by the Palace faithful.
No one is suggesting that we’ve found a long-term potent striking option hidden under our noses but in the here and now, few if any supporters are complaining at the upturn in Sako’s form, which, as the man himself is quick to tell you, is down in large part to the faith shown in him by his new(ish) boss.
The thought of Bakary being given a new contract had been someone at the very back of my mind for well over a year until recently but now, I see no reason why the club wouldn’t look to extend his stay with us. Admittedly, the role of a “super-sub” isn’t something every club looks to fill each season but through a mixture of necessity, luck and coaching, we appear to have uncovered a true diamond in the rough.