Lamine Kone says he will always be thankful to 'good guy' Sam Allardyce ahead of their reunion on Saturday.
Allardyce brought Kone to the Premier League last season when in charge of Sunderland, signing the defender in a £4.5million deal from Lorient.
The Ivory Coast star helped guide the Black cats away from relegation under Big Sam, only to see his mentor leave the club in the summer to take on the England job.
That reign ended briefly, with Allardyce now in charge of Saturday's opponents Crystal Palace.
And while Kone is looking forward to the reunion, he says there will be no old pals act at Selhurst Park.
“Sam is a good manager and a good guy," said Kone. "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."
The game takes on added significance with both sides battling against the drop.
Kone returned from the Africa Cup of Nations to play a starring role in Sunderland's 0-0 midweek draw against Tottenham Hotspur, and while it wasn't enough to lift the Black Cats out of the drop zone, he hopes they can take the positives from the performance into the Palace clash.
“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.”