SANDNES ULF SHAPING UP NICELY WITH SKARTUN SIGNING

Former Bryne striker Oddbjorn Skartun has signed for Sandnes Ulf, having been heavily linked with moves to a number of sides in recent weeks. Skartun joins a Sandnes side now full to the brim with attacking talent.

(Photo: DigitalSport)

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The striker is something of an ‘OBOS Ligaen Specialist’ having scored 43 goals in 104 games for Bryne at this level and joins on a one year deal. Skartun had been injured for most of the second half of the 2016 campaign but still managed to score 8 goals in 18 games for Bryne, including a brilliant hat trick against Mjondalen early in the season. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>I have mentioned before that Sandnes needed a lot of work to make themselves viable promotion candidates next season. The loss of players such as Pontus Engblom, Anel Raskaj and Eirik Schulze will have put a dent in the sides’ hopes for the 2017 season, but the quality of new signings so far has inspired a new sense of optimism within the support. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Sandnes now have players such as Kent Eriksen, Roy Miljeteig, Kjell Rune Sellin and Skartun to rely on for goals next season. Competition for places will be strong with all four of these players, as well as Vidar Nisja, Bojan Zajic and Jon Petter Stangeland, hoping for a lot of first team action this season. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>This weekend, Sandnes demonstrated their attacking prowess with a 6-0 victory over Vidar. Sellin struck a first half hat trick in his first appearance in a Sandnes shirt whilst goals from Nisja, Miljeteig and Stangeland in the second half meant Sandnes came out as comfortable winners. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Oddbjorn Skartun is a different kind of striker to Sellin. Whilst Sellin is always looking to get in behind the defence, Skartun is more useful playing as a target man using his strength and aerial ability to cause havoc in opposition defences. He was extremely important to Bryne in the first half of 2016, the side would have really struggled for points if it were not for their key forward. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>It will be interesting to see which forward Saeternes prefers to start games. With Kent Eriksen’s name firmly on the team sheet, it is likely that only one of Sellin or Skartun will regularly start matches. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Both offer different skills up front but it seems likely Sellin will be Saeternes’ main man going into the season. However, Skartun could be a useful option off the bench when Sandnes are struggling to break a side down or a useful operator from the start in matches where Sandnes can be considered as the underdogs.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Skartun attracted interest from various OBOS Ligaen sides with Bodo/Glimt and FK Jerv also interested in the players’ services. Skartun explained to the Sandnes Ulf official site why he chose the light blues; >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Bengt Sæternes and Sandnes Ulf showed interest in me and Sæternes presented plans for the season. It looked good, and Sandnes Ulf has a very exciting team this year. This was something I definitely wanted to be part of.>

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>Personally, I really want to gain promotion to the Eliteserien. The road to there is by working hard for the team, and I would certainly characterise myself as a team player.”>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Skartun will be hoping that the injury issues that plagued him last season are a thing of the past, any such re-occurrence could see him lose his place in the side to promising forward Jon Petter Stangeland who scored an impressive 13 goals in 10 games for Sandnes’ second team last season.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»> It will be interesting to see how Bengt Saeternes sets his side up next season. With so much attacking talent, a 4-3-3 formation may well be the tactic that gets the best out of his players. 4-4-2 could also be an option, although with Sellin, Skartun, Miljeteig and Eriksen all in the same side this may cause issues to occur defensively.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The issue of replacing Pontus Engblom’s goals has now been addressed and Sandnes are now looking like a side ready to challenge at the top of the league. If all their new signings can settle into the team in pre-season then it would be foolish to write the team off. >