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Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon keen to avoid operation

Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon
Gordon was a 9m signing from Hearts

Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon has been told he does not need surgery at the moment on the knee which has kept him out of action since 12 February.

The 28-year-old Scotland international met a specialist in Sweden this week who gave him an exercise programme to help strengthen his knee.

"Hopefully he'll be OK and he will avoid the surgery," Sunderland manager Steve Bruce told the club website.

Gordon was replaced by Simon Mignolet for the last two games.

Mignolet said he will continue to work hard to convince Bruce to retain him as the club's first-choice goalkeeper.

"The only thing I can do is work hard every single day and we will see who plays," the Belgian told BBC Newcastle, having starred in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal.

"It is a job for the gaffer, I cannot worry about it."

The Belgian shot-stopper was restored to the first team in the 2-0 defeat by Everton the previous weekend following Gordon's injury and retained his place at the Emirates.

"It was a great day. To play your first game away at Arsenal at the Emirates, there is always pressure and you're a bit nervous," Mignolet added.

"But I coped well with it, and to keep a clean sheet as a team was important.

"It's for the whole team. We were disappointed after last week's performance and the two stupid goals we conceded.

"If you respond as a team it's the most important thing."

Since joining Sunderland in June 2010 from Sint Truidense, Mignolet has kept eight clean sheets in 17 appearances.

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