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Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia, who only took over the position from Roy Keane on a permanent basis last month, has announced today that he would rather leave the club than sell star striker Kenwyne Jones.
Jones has been in good form since returning from a knee injury that he suffered whilst playing for Trinidad & Tobago against England in June. The powerful striker has struck up an effective and much-feared striking partnership with Frenchman Djibril Cisse, and has notched four goals in his last five games.

Signed for £6 million in summer 2007 from Southampton, Tottenham Hotpsur are believed to be lining up a £15 million bid for the player manager Harry Redknapp feels would perfectly complement Jermain Defoe. Aston Villa are also rumoured to be keeping tabs on the forward.

Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia is digging his heels in on the matter and is not prepared to let the player go.

"He's going nowhere," Sbragia told the Sunderland Echo earlier.

"I have said before that I'm not interested in selling my best players. It is the same as with Kenwyne. I'm not interested in letting my best players go and I don't need to sell."

When quizzed further as to whether there was a figure at which Jones would be allowed to leave, Sbragia again spoke forcefully.

"As far as I am concerned, there is no price because I need him - I need all the players I can get," the Press Association reports him as saying.

"If I go and sell my best players, I would be better walking, I would be better going out of the door, it's as simple as that. I came into the job to try to keep Sunderland up and try to move up the table, and there's one thing I won't do, sell my players."

Sbragia added that Jones was a vital part of his squad and that there is no way that he would consider selling the striker to a club who are in direct competition with the the Black Cats at the wrong end of the table.

"I just can't see the point of selling my best centre-forward - or one of them - to a club that's in the same position as us. As far as I am concerned, it was always going to be a 'no', and it always will be a 'no'," the Scot went on.

"Whatever Tottenham do might unsettle the player, that could be a problem. But it's just going to be 'no', it's as simple as that.

"He is an important member of the team, he is now hitting form, he is scoring goals and Sunderland Football Club need him here."