Sunderland defender Lamine Kone up for survival fight

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone

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Sunderland defender Lamine Kone says he is determined to help the club avoid relegation from the Premier League this season.

The Ivory Coast international has been a regular feature since joining the Black Cats from Lorient in January, quickly establishing his place at the heart of the club’s defence alongside either John O’Shea or Younes Kaboul.

The 26-year-old’s impressive form has not been able to pull Sunderland clear of the relegation zone, but he says he has the desire and experience to help the club preserve their top-flight status.

He told reporters: “I don’t mind playing in this sort of situation, the fight.

“I’ve been in a similar situation before and I have the experience under my belt. It certainly isn’t something that scares me. I signed here with Sunderland to help the club stay in the Premier League.”

Kone will be hoping to retain his place in the starting line-up when the Black Cats host West Brom at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

The centre-back has been struggling with a calf injury over the past few weeks and he missed Ivory Coast’s recent fixtures during the international break, although he is confident he will be fit to feature against the Baggies.

He added: “I had a bit of a problem with my calf in the game against Newcastle, and we didn’t really want to take the risk by going away on international duty. It was better to stay here, so I could make sure I was fit.”

Sunderland head into Saturday’s match two points adrift of safety, but they are available at 2.05 to secure a much-needed win in the fixture, while Albion are on offer at 3.80 and the draw is priced at 3.25.

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