Gordon eager to lead the Black Cats’ relegation dogfight

CRAIG GORDON is ready to make up for lost time as he pitches himself into Sunderland’s scrap for Barclays Premier League survival.

Britain’s most expensive goalkeeper has found himself sitting on the sidelines as the Black Cats have slipped towards the bottom three and the morass at the foot of the table. However, the £9 million man, who was recalled to the starting line-up at West Ham last weekend after managing just two senior appearances in the previous 26 games, is now ready to play his part in a seven-game shoot-out.

Gordon did just that at the end of the last campaign. The Wearsiders managed to ease their way into 15th place by the time the final ball was kicked and he insists there will be no lack of fight this time around either.

He said: “We are better off than three teams below us, so we are not in the worst position.

“We roll our sleeves up and we get on with it and we fight for every single point we can between now and the end of the season.

“We have got players in this dressing room who have got the experience from last year, and we are desperate to make sure that the outcome is the same this season.”

Today’s clash with Manchester United at the Stadium of Light may not be the easiest of the club’s remaining fixtures, and Hull’s visit to Wearside a week later and the trip to rock-bottom West Brom which follows could have a far greater say in the way things pan out.

However, Gordon is relishing both the visit of the league leaders and the challenge of preserving the club’s top-flight status.

He said: “You have to, there’s no hiding from it. You have to fight.

“Sometimes it won’t be pretty, but that’s the situation we are in and we have to do that between now and the end of the season. If we can do that, I am sure we will be fine.”

Gordon’s enthusiasm is perhaps understandable after his relative lack of activity in recent months.

The 26-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable change in fortunes in the last week or so, regaining his place in the Scotland team for the World Cup qualifier against Iceland as a result of Rangers counterpart Allan McGregor’s lifetime ban, and then ousting club-mate Marton Fulop at Upton Park.

He lost his international place amid concerns over his lack of football at Sunderland, with Fulop having taken advantage of the ankle injury which sidelined him back in October, and he freely admits the intervening period was difficult.

Gordon said: “It’s not easy, but you have just got to keep believing in your own ability and believe in your technique and believe in the things that got you there in the first place, and that’s what I did.”


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