Gordon: Black Cats on right track

The 27-year-old Scotland international’s heroics kept the world’s

richest club at bay on Sunday, until boyhood Black Cats fan Adam

Johnson came off the bench to snatch a point with a dramatic late

equaliser. However, despite seeing back-to-back Premier League wins

for the first time in 48 games wrenched from their grasp, the

Wearsiders extended their recent run to just one defeat in seven

outings, a return which has eased them seven points clear of the

drop zone. Gordon said: “I think it tells you a lot about the

improvement we have made that we are disappointed to have only

taken a point from a team like Man City. “We would have accepted a

point before the game, and with the chances they created in the

second half you would not begrudge City the point. “But it is

disappointing again to go so close to a win and drop points very

late in the game. “Overall, I think we are playing a lot better and

can feel reasonably confident for the home game against Birmingham

on Saturday.” Last-gasp goals have cost Sunderland dear this

season, Steve Bruce’s side surrendering 10 points in the closing

stages of games. However, Johnson’s delicious injury-time strike

was just the fifth goal they have conceded in the last seven games,

a testament to the new-found resilience of Gordon and the men in

front of him. Gordon in particular was in fine form on Sunday as

City recovered from a ponderous start during which Kenwyne Jones

headed the home side into a deserved ninth-minute lead. They

defended it resolutely until the 91st minute, Gordon denying Craig

Bellamy three times and also keeping out efforts from Roque Santa

Cruz, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Carlos Tevez. However, he modestly

played down his role. The £9million man said: “City had us

under pressure for pretty much all of the second half and I had to

make a few saves, but that’s what I’m there for. “We have not been

allowing too many chances against us of late and I think that’s

down to the back four knowing each other better from playing

alongside each other.” That consistency has coincided with a clean

bill of health for Bruce at the back, with on-loan Lyon defender

John Mensah proving a tower of strength after shaking off the

injury problems which have blighted his time on Wearside to date.

Bruce revealed that the 27-year-old Ghana international has to be

handled carefully and can only train fully at the end of the week

as he attempts to nurse a niggling back problem which regularly has

a knock-on effect elsewhere. But there is little doubt that when he

is fit, Mensah is an imposing figure. Gordon said: “John’s been

unlucky with his injuries, but I think we are seeing the best of

him now. “He’s put together a run of games and does not need to do

a great deal in training because he’s a naturally very fit lad. “He

must be very fit to just come out and play games; he’s our Ledley

King. “The management have been very careful with the work he does

between games and it’s paying off because he’s been a great

influence.” The news of Jones, however, is not so good with medical

staff today assessing the extent of the groin injury which Bruce

admitted immediately after the game could sideline for a month.