Sunderland AFC news round-up: Kone talks Big Sam, Coates speculation & hard work paying off for Vito
Here's your lunchtime round-up if you need to catch up with all of today's SAFC headlines...
Kone discusses Big Sam...
This Saturday's relegation clash has an extraordinary amount of sub plots and Lamine Kone has been talking about the manager who made it all happen for him last season.
Brilliant on Tuesday night against Tottenham, will the Ivorian be back to his very best at Selhurst Park.
He said: "Sam is a good manager and a good guy, he brought me to England and I will always be thankful for that.
"But he is now at Crystal Palace so I hope to win against him.
"It is a very, very important game for us," Kone added. "But the Spurs game was a good performance and the whole defence was focused.
“Now we must play like that against Palace.”
Coates transfer war?
You'll have noticed the extraordinary amount of stories regarding Sebastian Coates coming out of Portugal in recent months.
The crux of it seems to be that some papers are linking Sporting Lisbon's arch-rivals Benfica with a move, sparking a fair amount of debate and controversy.
Sporting's President has put the chatter down to a 'newspaper war' and hinted a deal for Coates could be close.
Good news for Sunderland, who could get a small but much needed financial boost for what looks set to be an absolutely vital summer of of transfer business.
Vito pleased with hard work
Mannone has said that some much needed time on the training ground helped Sunderland get to grips with their defensive duties against Tottenham.
The Italian stopper said: "We had time to regroup, time to put into training. When you play every three days you just recover to play the next one, you don’t have time to talk, regroup, to have some defending and attacking training, to find a way to play better because it wasn’t working.
“We were more organised (against Spurs), and hopefully with the injection of new players, it can help us going forward.
“It’s a good point, it needs to be the first of many.
A couple of things to catch up on over your lunch hour.
This week's column is on Big Sam's trolley dash at Palace and what it means for Sunderland. Read that here.
Meanwhile, some closer analysis of Sunderland's window from Richard Mennear is here.
And look out for another cracking David Preece column at 2pm...