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Page last updated at 18:51 GMT, Saturday, 1 August 2009 19:51 UK

Gordon ruled out of Norway match

Sunderland and Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon
Gordon faces a fitness race to feature against Norway next month

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has ruled out goalkeeper Craig Gordon from Scotland's World Cup qualifier against Norway in Oslo on Wednesday week.

Gordon has missed pre-season with a knee injury and Bruce believes the game in Oslo will come too soon.

"The last two days have seen a great improvement," Bruce said after a 2-1 friendly win over Celtic in Glasgow.

"But I have to be brutally honest and say that, as far as the Norway goes, he would find that difficult."

Gordon underwent a summer operation for a knee injury that sidelined him at the end of last season but had hoped to have a slight chance of playing on 12 August.

"He has not done a day's training yet with us, so I think it would be a big risk and would be highly unlikely that he would be involved," said Bruce.

It now appears that the 26-year-old goalkeeper will not be included in Scotland manager George Burley's squad, which will be announced on Tuesday, and leaves him short of options for the number one jersey.

Second choice Allan McGregor has been dropped from the international set-up after a breach of discipline after May's 3-0 defeat by runaway group leaders Netherlands.

Neil Alexander has taken over from McGregor as first choice with Rangers and will now vie with David Marshall, who moved from Norwich to Cardiff in the summer, for a starting place for Scotland.

The Scots travel to Oslo sitting second in Europe's Group Nine but desperate for points to win a place in the play-offs as one of the best-placed runners-up.

Burley will be without the services of striker Chris Iwelumo and defender Kirk Broadfoot through injury.

Stephen McManus, Barry Robson and James Morrison are all injury doubts, while Scott Brown and Kevin Thomson have only just returned to action after missing the start of pre-season training.

Meanwhile, Gordon is also likely to miss Sunderland's league opener, away to Bolton Wanderers, three days after the Scots play in Oslo.

Gordon, who previously missed six months of last season with an ankle problem, was sent to a specialist after suffering the injury at the end of April.

The Scot arrived at the Stadium of Light in a £9m switch from Hearts in August 2007 but last season found it difficult to dislodge Marton Fulop for the number one jersey on his return from his six-month absence.

Gordon looked to be returning to form as he attempted to impress manager Ricky Sbragia when he suffered his latest problem.

However, his fellow Scot left the club despite their escape from the relegation zone at the end of the season.

Gordon now has to impress Bruce and assistant Eric Black, who arrived from Premier League rivals Wigan Athletic, as Sunderland prepare to begin their campaign.

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see also
Iwelumo blow for Scots and Wolves
20 Jul 09 |  Internationals
Marshall to revive Scotland dream
14 May 09 |  Cardiff
Gordon to miss Sunderland run-in
06 May 09 |  Sunderland
Burley praises Gordon performance
02 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Gordon aims for Scotland return
05 Feb 09 |  Sunderland

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