Wow, I’m addicted. I honestly never anticipated to be living on the absolute edge when I send my second-tier Swedish side – my first club job – into battle, having created an absolutely beautiful brand of football and feeling an already quite immense loyalty to my players, but…here I am! There is so much farther to go and progress in this save but the time I’m pouring into every tactical, training, press conference decision makes me feel that this will be a long and fruitful save.

With that in mind, I’ve decided not to write about each and every post and actually play a fair bit through the save, looking at a couple of other areas. That being said, I couldn’t not post a gif of this wonderful strike from Damus as he opened his account for the club in the 7-0 rout of Åtvidabergs. We also had to deal with an annoying issue that saw the loss of Svanberg – because, apparently, a centre back being played as a centre back is not correct! That being said, I quickly moved on and signed a new contract with the club as I look to build on this success and, hopefully, take Sundsvall back up to the top flight. You can see a full match report of each of the nine games, shown below, by clicking on the thumbnail.




The results have seen us climb to the top of the league but, with one point separating the top five, I’m cautious to get carried away. Scoring at two a game and conceded a two goals in three is really strong and, Varbergs’ scoring aside, we’ve got the best record.

Wanting to keep things as realistic as possible but also knowing that, given our current league position, I’d be foolish to not think about next year, I wanted to keep the transfers simple and ones that would normally be available to a club of our standings.


Enter Yaya Kader Fofana.

In the Ivorian-born-Malian’s short career to date, he’s played in France and Mali and has actually featured five times, all off the bench, in Ligue Une, for Reims. Scandinavia feels like a real stomping ground for Africans to either get to the continent or to re-find their feat, given the somewhat lax rules on foreign players. I find myself inundated with Agent offers and am normally quick to delete those many, many offers for 35+ year old Argentines, who’ve never left their country. Yet this one felt different: a youngster who hadn’t quite made the cut in a higher level and one who was willing to come in without breaking the bank. Yaya immediately joined on trial and was strong across a series of friendlies for the reserve squad. My staff have outlined some concerns about his injury proneness, but his medical history, long illness aside, is pretty much clean. My biggest interest though is, when compared with Pichkah, he’s a stronger option for my VOL(a) role and, when Salaou’s loan ends, will allow Paya to move back into the more defensive minded role that he, probably, prefers.

In terms of his development, I’ll be using the VOL(a) schedule to retrain him as a DM with a focus on his defensive positioning, which currently sits as the weakest area, bar aerial threat, in his game. I’m going to toy with what traits to add but I feel something like ‘Plays Killer Balls’ might work really nicely as, when it attack, he’ll form the top of my box with Navik, who also has that. Therefore, it feels even more imperative that my striker is fast and can get in behind to really allow these balls to have maximum impact.

Yaya is just another example of my want to have young, hungry footballers at the club who I can develop. Below are our top prospects:


I would already consider both Navik and Forsberg to be developed but I really like that, for a club of our size, there are a number of really strong candidates for the first team. Viktor Mattson is currently working to develop as a PF(a) with focus on his intelligence in the final third as I look to develop him into Engblom’s long term successor – a far more suited man to my striker role with bags of pace and an eye for goal. Likewise, Palsson is starting to see more football on the wing and will look to also develop his footballing intelligence. Filip Aberg is an interesting prospect at left back whilst Torstensson is some way off challenging at present. Our coaching setup needs some work but my focus on these lads is to really build a strong core of homegrown players, supplemented by experience from elsewhere. To quality assure their development, I’m giving them as many minutes as I can, talking to them about their performances – both good and bad – and ensuring that I’m commenting on their training and development regularly. As I, currently, lack more evidence of their performances, I feel that working on player traits will come in weeks, months or years to come.

As I said – I’m feeling really connected to the players, the team and the league itself: long may this continue!


  • Ben

    Ben has been a long time contributor to the FM community previously on The Dugout and the SI Forums. He is known for his great in-depth tactical analysis and an increasing level of understanding of data led recruitment. His FM saves are always in-depth and he delivers both his knowledge of the game and great storytelling including a talent for squad building, progressing youth players and finding diamonds in the rough. His saves are really popular within the blogging community. He is also the creator of the popular skin “Statman”

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