The Merlucciidaes are finding life difficult once again in the French topflight, and they are hoping their new Nigerian acquisition can help them avoid relegation this term
Lorient manager Christophe Pelissier has confirmed that Super Eagles midfielder Innocent Bonke is ready to make his Ligue 1 debut this weekend.
Les Merlus host Lens at the Stade du Moustoir on Sunday, looking for their first win in 16 games across all competitions.
Despite boasting another Super Eagles striker Terem Moffi among their ranks, the Brittany-based club has had trouble scoring goals in the league this term.
Le FCL are currently second from bottom in the league table. They have managed a paltry 18 goals in 22 Ligue 1 matches, the fewest of any club in the elite division.
Mali international striker Ibrahima Kone was signed on transfer deadline day from Sarpsborg 08 for €4 million to improve the team’s attacking output.
But Pelissier’s men also boast a terrible defensive record, failing to keep a clean sheet in 14 of their last 15 league games.
A defensive midfielder to help block the leak was considered a priority during the winter transfer window. The Merlucciidaes then pulled a huge coup by convincing Innocent Bonke to join on a free transfer.
The 26-year-old has Champions League experience and amassed two international caps for Nigeria. Although, he did not make the team that participated in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
But ahead of their league clash against Lens, Pelissier told Ouest-France that both of the club’s recruits are ready to make their Ligue 1 debuts.
The 56-year-old said, “Ibrahima Koné arrived on Wednesday; he is fit to play like Bonke Innocent. Ibra did two days of training with us.
“He is mentally ready; that’s the most important thing to play on Sunday. Ibra is a more axial player while Terem Moffi can play on the sides; they are complementary.”
Bonke previously played for Lillestrøm and Malmo FF after making the breakthrough at two Nigerian academies Bujoc FC and Moderate Stars.
The Kaduna-born midfielder has a three-and-a-half-year contract with Lorient that will keep him at the club until mid-2025.