Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has taken a swipe at 'predatory' clubs and agents for attempting to unsettle his players.
A day after manager Ricky Sbragia hit out at Tottenham and Hull over their respective pursuits of Kenwyne Jones and Dean Whitehead, he received backing from the boardroom.
Writing in his programme notes ahead of Saturday afternoon's Barclays Premier League clash with Aston Villa, who have also been linked with Jones, Quinn said: "We hope to get what we want and we certainly know what agents want - money, end of story. But I can't put the club at risk in bowing down to these predators."
He added: "In truth, clubs don't help themselves by taking part in this melee, but I believe it is even worse when some use media outlets to directly announce their intentions and preferences without having made contact with those players' clubs.
"As we all know, life becomes more difficult when players have their heads turned.
"We are very happy with our current group of players, which many people remark is the strongest we have had for years.
"We will try very hard to keep that strong and add to it when appropriate."
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