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Morata was Chelsea's first choice - Conte


Sessegnon determined to end drought

Sunderland forward Stephane Sessegnon has revealed he is keen to end his recent goal drought, after setting himself a personal target of double figures for the season.

Sessegnon, 28, has undergone a tough start to the new campaign, drawing a blank in each of the seven games he has featured in for the Black Cats.

However, the Benin international is determined not to let his lack of goals bother him and wants to perform a more central role in the club's future victories.

"I want to get among the goals," Sessegnon told the Sunderland Echo. "My ambition this season was to score more goals and make more goals. Obviously the team is the most important thing and after that you can look to what you do individually.

"But personally, I want to contribute to more victories with goals. I'd love to pass the double figure mark. That's my primary objective."

The former Paris Saint-Germain player is quick to acknowledge the contributions of team-mate Steven Fletcher, who has five goals already this season, and scored the winning goal in Sunderland's 1-0 victory over Wigan at the weekend.

But much like manager Martin O'Neill, Sessegnon is adamant that the team cannot rely solely on the Scottish frontman for goals.

"Obviously, Fletcher has answered all the questions and he has been able to make the difference for us. But we must all do our best to help Fletch," he said. "He has done very well so far, but he can't score all the goals forever. We must do what we can.

"We've missed someone like that who can both score goals and hold the ball up and I think everyone is happy that he's here. It's good for him and good for the team that he's started like this. I'm sure he'll be doing everything to continue like that and keep scoring goals. But I think that he's someone who will work hard to keep improving."

Meanwhile, Sunderland have been boosted by the news that defenders Wes Brown, Carlos Cuellar and Phil Bardsley are all close to full fitness.

O'Neill confirmed on Thursday that Bardsley, along with trialist James McFadden, are both set to play against Middlesbrough in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Friday, while Brown and Cuellar have begun training with the first team once again.

"Phil Bardsley is doing fine, he's joined in a few training sessions and it's about getting fit," O'Neill said. "Carlos is back in training which is great news, as is the fact that Wes has also started to get involved. There's no doubt that the fortnight coming up for the international break is likely to be beneficial to all three in terms of upping their match fitness levels."


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