After spending almost nine months out of the game through injury, Craig Gordon can still play a big role in Sunderland’s future according to manager Martin O’Neill.
The Scot suffered a knee injury in April of last year and after operation was ruled out for the remainder of the season as well as the first half of the current campaign.
Gordon’s contract at the Stadium of Light is set to expire at the end of this season but his boss is keen to renew the deal, drafting his goalkeeper in for the long-term.
The Scotland international arrived at Wearside in 2007 on a £9m deal from SPL side Hearts, and quickly lived up to expectations, establishing himself as the first choice ‘keeper for the North East outfit.
That being said, injury has made Gordon somewhat of a background figure at the club pver the past year, handing Simon Mignolet and summer signing Kieran Westwood the opportunities to make their breaks into the first team.
The 29 year-old will undoubtedly attract a host of interest should he go into the summer transfer period as a free transfer, with Arsenal and Celtic already said to be circling his signature.
Martin O’Neill is attempting to tie his stopper down to a new deal and speaking to The People, said: “I have spoken to Craig and he has to get himself absolutely fit. If he is fit and properly raring to go at the end of the season, and is reaching anything like the form of previous times, he will be in demand, from both ourselves and other clubs.
The Northern Irishman added: “Once Craig is absolutely pain-free, then I think that’s the time to make a judgement.”
Gordon has only just returned to reserve team action for the Black Cats but has already been selected for Craig Levein’s Scotland squad that will travel to Croatia for this week’s international friendly.