Simon Grayson challenges Black Cats defender


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Sunderland manager Simon Grayson believes Lamine Kone will be a target for Premier League clubs if he performs consistently during their Championship campaign.

Grayson took charge of the Black Cats, who are priced at 19.00 to win the Championship, over the summer and he made it clear that he wanted to keep Kone on board as they attempt to win an immediate return to the Premier League.

The Ivory Coast international has endured an indifferent time in the north east after joining from Lorient in January 2016 for an undisclosed fee.

Kone made a positive start to life at the Stadium of Light under Sam Allardyce and he was key in helping the club to beat the drop.

Everton expressed a keen interest in taking Kone to Goodison Park in the summer of 2016, however, new manager David Moyes refused to allow him to depart and Sunderland rewarded him with a new improved deal.

The 28-year-old has since suffered a dip in form with injuries also impacting his performances and the club haven’t received any offers for the defender this summer.

Grayson has been impressed with the defender’s displays against Derby and Norwich in the Championship this term and he insists there will be future offers if he keeps performing at a high standard.

“While people are still here, if they’re thinking about options to leave, play well and make that happen,” Grayson told the Daily Mirror.

“Kone? I think he’s up for the fight. By the sounds of it and the way he has played, he has looked very comfortable and shown his true quality.”

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