CHRIS COLEMAN has fielded a number of inquiries about Lamine Kone since taking over at the Stadium of Light, and the Sunderland manager admits he is formulating plans for the possible departure of some of his most influential players next month.

Kone is the subject of strong interest from Everton and Crystal Palace, although the centre-half’s long-standing knee injury means Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson will both seek medical guarantees before lodging a formal offer.

Sunderland are almost certain to lose their leading scorer, Lewis Grabban, next month, with Bournemouth set to trigger a recall clause in the striker’s loan deal that will enable them to sell him permanently before his contract expires, and Didier Ndong could also be the subject of offers from clubs in the Premier League and France’s Ligue 1.

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Coleman is keen to make additions of his own, but with his budget hinging on what happens in terms of outgoings, the Black Cats boss is having to devise a range of plans to encompass a series of different scenarios.

“There’s possibilities that one or two of our boys could move on, but I just don’t know at this stage,” he said. “We’ve had a little bit of interest, and I’m sure clubs will look at us. There are a lot of players here who played in the Premier League, and there will be clubs looking and saying, ‘Well he’s got Premier League experience’. There could be a bit of movement.

“Everyone will be looking to do something next month. Wolves are top, but I bet they’re still looking to strengthen. It’s no different with us, and with the position we’re in, I think some new faces would really help us out.

“We need to add to what we’ve got. Since I’ve been here in the last two weeks, we’ve spent a lot of hours looking at possibilities of new faces.

“The January transfer window can be crazy with lots of panics and signings coming from leftfield, but we cannot afford to be on the end of something we didn’t see coming, and not be prepared for it. We have a lot of faces and a lot of names that could potentially come this way, but it will depend on what’s happening in the other direction.”

While Coleman’s January budget will be limited no matter what happens, the former Wales boss remains confident of being able to utilise the loan market to improve his squad. He is also hoping to engineer some cut-price permanent deals if the opportunity arises.

He wants to add quality, but admits it will be more important to recruit players with the right character to aid Sunderland’s survival battle. It takes a certain type of player to flourish in the North-East at the best of times, but the task is even more difficult when you are joining a club in the relegation zone at the foot of the Championship.

“When you make a signing at the last minute, and you’re desperate and you’ve got no choice, sometimes the character of that person is not always what you want and what you need,” said Coleman. “The type of place this is, and the position we’re in, you need to be a certain type of person to come and work here.

“It’s my job to make sure, as best as I can, that the right type of characters are coming in to the building. Character will be super important if we are going to build something. We can’t get caught making last-minute decisions in the transfer window because we’ve been caught with our pants down and have just lost someone. We can’t sign people who we know as a player, but don’t know as a person or a man.”

A new striker will be a priority if, as expected, Grabban leaves, with Liverpool youngster Ben Woodburn one of the players currently under serious consideration.

Eddie Howe all but confirmed Grabban would be returning to Bournemouth when he spoke to the press last week, and Coleman is clearly disappointed that he has not had any personal contact from the Cherries boss.

“It (Howe’s comments) was a surprise because we haven’t heard anything from Bournemouth,” he said. “He’s (Grabban) contracted to us to the end of the season. There is a clause about January, but we’ve not heard from Bournemouth club to club.

“We saw those comments, and were a bit surprised that we hadn’t heard anything. Of course it’s their prerogative really because he belongs to them so there’s nothing we can do. That’s an area we’re very conscious of, and that we could need to improve. We’ll have to wait and see, but we need to be proactive because if it does happen, we need strength in depth.”

Grabban will continue to lead the Sunderland attack this afternoon, and Ndong is also set to start after recovering from a knee injury. The midfielder will replace Lee Cattermole, who is suspended after his dismissal last weekend. However, Paddy McNair, Bryan Oviedo and Billy Jones remain on the absentee list.

“Didier has trained this week, and looks good,” said Coleman. “He looks fit, but he’s been out for five weeks with no football. He’s a naturally fit boy though, and he’s trained well.

“Paddy is not available unfortunately. He trained at the start of the week, but he’s still feeling his groin, so he’ll be unavailable. Bryan will be another week or so, and the same with Billy. Billy will need some football before he gets back on the pitch with us, but he’s doing well with his rehab and could be ready to join in training next week.”