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Bristol Rovers coach Ben Garner is thrilled to have beaten Sunderland to the signing of Ali Koiki, believing the youngster’s pace and power could make him an inspired addition to his squad.

Five days after the transfer window closed, Phil Parkinson’s Black Cats were forced to dip into the free-agent pool to bring in some much-needed cover for their problematic left-back role.

Callum McFadzean produced five goals and three assists from out wide as Plymouth Argyle secured promotion from League Two last season and, on paper at least, his signing this week looks a good bit of business for an in-form Sunderland side.

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That’s not to say McFadzean was their first choice, however.

As reported by the Bristol Post, Sunderland showed an interest in Koiki after the 21-year-old rejected a new contract at Burnley. However, the youngster opted to join the Wearside giants’ League One rivals instead.

“Ali is a quick and powerful player who is defensively strong but also provides a strong attacking threat,” Garner told Bristol Rovers’ official website.

“He will have the opportunity here to grow as both a player and a person in order to achieve his full potential.

“Ali is a player we have tracked for a long time and he has the attributes that suit our style of play. From my conversations with him, it was clear he has the right attitude and determination to be a success here.”

Sunderland, who have won four out of their last five League One games and haven’t conceded a goal since the opening day, will hope missing out on Koiki doesn’t come back to haunt them.

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