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Sbragia accepts Gordon stance

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1 Sbragia accepts Gordon stance on Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:10 pm

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has stated that he would be disappointed if goalkeeper Craig Gordon was happy with being left out of the side.

The Black Cats shot-stopper, who signed for £9million from Hearts in August 2007, has played just twice since recovering from an ankle injury in October.

In fact, the 26-year-old has played only one game since the end of November, with fellow goalkeeper Marton Fulop taking full advantage of his absence.

Scotland boss George Burley has spoken of his concern at his No.1's omission from the first team at the Stadium of Light and the man himself is growing more frustrated.

"That's what I want from him. I spoke to him last week and Raimond Van der Gouw (goalkeeping coach) is in a lot of dialogue with him," Sbragia said.

"He has probably never been in that situation. He has probably always been ever present, he has always come in and got the No.1 jersey.

"But Marton has been super. Marton has been patient, I know he (Fulop) wasn't happy with it, but we said if the opportunity comes, you have to take it and at present he has done well.


"Craig played in the reserves last night and was excellent. His attitude was good. There will come a time when we have to make a decision on it, but at present Marton is playing well.

"I would hope it would make Craig mentally strong. I know he is disappointed and I would expect him to be disappointed."

Sbragia was responding to the Scotland International's comments after the Black Cats reserves managed to win 2-0 against Wigan, a game which Gordon asked to play in.

"I know Marton was very frustrated in the summer when he hadn't had a look in last season, and now I know how he felt," he told the Sunderland Echo.

"I still don't see myself as being behind anybody and I'm sure Marton sees it the same way.

"That was always going to be the situation when you have two international goalkeepers fighting for one place in the side.

"There is a situation here in that we both want to play, and there is nothing wrong with that.


"But whoever is not playing is going to be very unhappy indeed, that's the way it is. All I can do is focus on doing my job and hopefully I will get my place back as quickly as possible."

Despite his desire to reclaim a spot he believes is rightfully his, Sbragia has revealed that Gordon may have to continue to bide his time.

"It wouldn't be right for me to just drop Marton," he added.

"If I am saying I want competition within the squad I have got, it would be a case of someone going in for one game and having an outstanding game, but because I have got a No.1 keeper I just bring him back out.

"The two of them will be working harder together and there's a lot of communication with Raimond as well, and I would be really disappointed if he was not unhappy.

"But that's football isn't it? It's a learning time for him as well."

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