Everton's Arouna Kone backed by Gareth Barry to maintain form

Arouna Kone will prove his doubters wrong, according to Everton teammate Gareth Barry, after overcoming a career-threatening knee injury to win a new contract.

Kone, 31, had a difficult first two seasons at Goodison Park after a £5 million move from Wigan in July 2013.

The Ivory Coast international did not play for 14 months after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage in the October following his arrival, and there were fears that he may not be able to play again.

Even when the striker regained fitness, he struggled to impress Everton's fans, ending last season with just one goal to his name.

But since scoring on the opening day of the current campaign, in a 2-2 draw against Watford, Kone has started to discover the form that persuaded manager Roberto Martinez to sign him.

He triggered a one-year contract extension by making his 35th appearance for the club on Sunday, and celebrated with his first Everton hat trick in a 6-2 demolition of Sunderland.

"Arouna has had a couple of tough years with injury and people questioning the transfer," Barry told the Liverpool Echo.

"But we have seen glimpses in training when he has been fit that when he gets a run of games he will be able to do what he did against Sunderland."

Barry believes that Kone and Romelu Lukaku are now showing that they have the ability to work together and hurt opposing teams.

He added: "Arouna and Romelu have struck up a good partnership and are causing problems.

"It is not too often you see two strikers playing together but I am sure the manager has tried to get Arouna in the team with Rom because they are both goal-scoring threats."