Fulop has chance to prove his worth
STEVE BRUCE will consider handing Marton Fulop the chance to resurrect his Sunderland career after injury to Craig Gordon threw the manager's pre-season plans into chaos. Gordon is not expected to return until September at the earliest after fracturing his left arm in training on Thursday. Neither Simon Mignolet nor Trevor Carson, both under-21 international keepers with Belgium and Northern Ireland respectively, possess sufficient top-flight experience for Bruce to promote them to the number one slot, forcing him to turn to Fulop, who wanted to quit the club this summer. The Hungarian performed a similar rescue mission last season when he joined Manchester City for the final three games of the campaign as emergency cover for the injured Shay Given. The option remains for Bruce to draft in an experienced goalkeeper as a temporary stop-gap but Fulop, who played in the reserves' 1-0 win at Blyth Spartans on Thursday, could be set for a surprise first-team return. Mignolet and Carson will each play 45 minutes at Darlington this afternoon, when assistant manager Eric Black will deputise for Bruce, who is attending a charity golf event in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. The assistant manager confirmed that Gordon was devastated to suffer a second broken arm within eight months after a collision last November with Spurs' striker Jermaine Defoe sidelined the Scotland international for 14 games. The club are hopeful Gordon can make a full recovery, but Black admits his fellow Scot faces another challenging spell of recuperation while dismissing suggestions the keeper's left arm had become a cause for long-term concern. He fell rather innocuously in training and broke his arm,'' he said. He was operated on and the surgeon is really happy with it. He's comfortable with it but he's going to miss the start of the season and at this time we don't have a definitive timescale on when he'll be back. I wouldn't hide the fact that it will be a challenge for Craig, but it's a clean fracture and it won't necessarily break in that place again. It's a challenge for all of us to make sure he comes back confident enough in his ability and in his arm to play again and he will. It's a real blow and a massive disappointment for the lad and ourselves. It's another problem that has to be solved and we'll consider various options over the coming days. The manager talked to Marton about his future before this injury to Craig, so whether that changes things I don't know. He'd like to leave the club because he wants to be a number one keeper somewhere. We need a bit of reflection time and so will he, whether he thinks this is an opportunity to come in and re-establish himself. He's not burned his bridges. He wants to play games to keep himself right. It could be a good shop window for him, as was going to Man City. Gordon, who became Britain's most expensive keeper when he joined from Hearts for £9m in August 2007, had operations on his arm and a hernia during the summer and was pencilled in for the pre-season matches in Portugal before injury struck again. The 27-year-old will also miss the beginning of Scotland's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. Scotland boss Craig Levein said: It is obviously very disappointing to lose a goalkeeper of Craig's calibre for such a significant part of the campaign. I am as disappointed for the player himself as I am for the country, because I know how hard he has worked to overcome a series of injuries. Craig has been an exceptional goalkeeper for Scotland a talisman in fact and I think, after getting a metal plate inserted in his arm last season, he was getting back to his best form for Sunderland.
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