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Boro must capitalise at Stoke


O'Neill hopes for Sessegnon stay

Martin O'Neill has stressed the importance of Sunderland retaining the services of joint top scorer Stephane Sessegnon this summer.

Sessegnon, 28, was named the club's player of the season for his shining displays from midfield, grabbing eight league goals as they shot up the table following Steve Bruce's departure.

There had been talk of interest in the Benin international from several sides, including Paris Saint-Germain, but O'Neill is determined to retain his prize asset.

"You can never tell what's going to happen over the summer and I don't want to be saying anything categorically at the start of it which will make us look foolish at the end of it,'' he told the Sunderland Echo.

"I don't want to say something now which will be thrown back at me next season with people saying: 'Well you said this, or you said that'. But there's no doubt Stephane Sessegnon is a player that we obviously want to keep and we'll be doing everything we can to do so.

"He adds something to our attack that no other player does and our priority is to improve ourselves as an attacking force next season. If you want to do that, you have to look at keeping your best attacking players and attracting others. Stephane has been making the right noises about being happy to stay at Sunderland and hopefully that will be the case.''

One player who has already departed the Stadium of Light this summer is goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who left on a free earlier this month.

The goalkeeper, who has been linked with a move to join former manager Steve Bruce at Hull City, insists he will take his time over a decision on his future.

"Things will work themselves out over the next few weeks,'' Gordon told reporters on Monday. "I've had a few bits and pieces of contact from different clubs but I'll take my time and see what the best offer is over the summer and see where next season takes me. I'm quite relaxed that it will all get sorted out and I can get some first-team football under my belt.''


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