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By ESPN Staff
Jan 8, 2009

Sbragia insists Diouf won't be leaving Sunderland

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has insisted he has no intention of allowing striker El-Hadji Diouf to leave Wearside.

Sam Allardyce, now in charge at Blackburn, worked with the Senegal international during his time at Bolton and has been linked with a £2million swoop.

Diouf's recent comments have sent out mixed messages over his future, but Sbragia revealed he has spoken to the player and is intent on holding on to him.

The Scot said: ''I have spoken to him in the last couple of days and he seems happy - they all seem happy if they are playing football, that's the important thing about it.

''He played on Saturday and he was excellent. That's what I knew he could do [from his time] at Bolton.

''He set himself a standard and he has to keep to that standard.''

Sbragia is currently attempting to strengthen his squad with the addition of at least one defender of proven Barclays Premier League experience.

However, having admitted there will also be departures from the Stadium of Light in the wake of predecessor Roy Keane's £70million-plus spending spree, he has found several of his players become the subject of speculation.

Striker Michael Chopra has been linked with a swift return to former club Cardiff, where he also recently spent two successful months on loan, although Sbragia was quick to dismiss that.

He said: ''Chopra will not be moving at all. I need four strikers and he is going to be one of the four.

''The front two, Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse, have done extremely well, but I need back-up as well - and I will change the team around, I know that.

''The good thing about Chopra is he can play wide right, wide left and up front.

''There has been a lot of speculation, but I can't afford to lose my better players.''

Northern Ireland frontman David Healy too has been linked with a move away from Wearside with Rangers said to be monitoring his situation.

But Sbragia said: ''It is just speculation. I have had no contact with Rangers at all regarding David.

''I spoke to David about three weeks ago and he is definitely part of the plan.

''He has been excellent, his attitude has been fantastic and we need strikers.

''If we have a problem with the front two regarding injury, we have two strikers who can go in and take their place.''

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