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Sunderland, Birmingham battle for Portsmouth's Cole

Premiership promoted duo Sunderland and Birmingham City are battling for released Portsmouth striker Andy Cole.

The 35-year-old forward spent a brief loan spell at St Andrews last season, helping Bruce's troops secure a return to the Premier League.

And despite splashing out £2.7million to sign Scotland striker Garry O'Connor, Bruce feels Cole's experience could be vital as Blues bid to ensure they do not drop back down to the Championship again.

Cole was released by Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp at the start of this month - but has also attracted the interest of Sunderland boss Keane, according to the News of the World.

Keane has recruited six new players this summer - but only one of them was a striker in Michael Chopra, who was signed from Cardiff for £5million.

The Cats chief is hoping the fact that Cole's former United strike partner, and close friend, Dwight Yorke is on the books at the Stadium of Light could give him the edge over Bruce in the chase for his signature.

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