Simon Mignolet injury means Craig Gordon could be rushed back

SUNDERLAND hope to fast-track Craig Gordon’s return after it emerged the facial injuries sustained by Simon Mignolet in the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at the weekend are more serious than first believed.

The Scottish international has been out since April after undergoing knee surgery and is still some weeks away from a return – he has no chance of being involved in the game against Manchester United this weekend or of turning out for Scotland next week.

But Sunderland will hope that, by the time the home games come around against Fulham on November 19 and Wigan Athletic on November 26, Gordon might be available to take up a place on the bench.

It’s something of a long shot, with Gordon having already taken longer to come back from his injury than originally expected, but it’s something the club will seriously explore with Mignolet now facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after an operation to fix a badly broken nose at the weekend also revealed a fractured eye socket.

The Belgian keeper was a mess of blood when he left the field after being smashed in the face by Emile Heskey’s forearm on Saturday and it was clear the keeper was in a bad way.

FULL STORY IN WEDNESDAY’S MAIL ...