CRAIG Gordon is expected to be fit enough to resume his place for Sunderland tomorrow, despite pulling out of the Scotland squad this week.
The Black Cats’ keeper withdrew from the international squad after suffering a minor knee injury.
But the precautionary move appears to have done the trick and Sunderland’s number one should keep his place between the posts for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow.
Gordon has had a tough couple of games after a spell of eye-catching form. He was not at his best in the 4-2 home defeat to Chelsea and he was worse in the 3-2 defeat at Stoke which followed last week.
But Bruce will stand behind his number one choice.
He told the Echo: “Craig’s had a disappointing couple of games by his own standards but he’s the club’s number one for a reason.
“He’s a top quality keeper and he’s proven himself that on many occasions in my time here. I think he’ll use the last couple of games as an incentive to produce his best against Spurs this weekend.
“He’s 50:50 at the moment but we’re pretty sure he’ll be fine to play.”
All the other players involved on international duty during the week have returned fit to play.
And Bruce admits he has a decision to make over Ghana captain John Mensah, who has come through his latest game for his country unscathed.
Bruce said: “John was excellent last week in the five-man defence we played at Stoke.
“We didn’t concede a goal in open play with that system – the goals we conceded were from set-pieces, which have nothing to do with formation.
“It suggests to me that that formation is definitely a good option away from home. We defended well and we still scored goals with it.
“But at home, we would probably look for a four-man defence, so I’ll have to consider whether or not to keep John in the side this weekend.”
Elsewhere, Fraizer Campbell and Michael Turner have returned to non-contact training after substantial lay-offs with injury.
But this weekend’s game is far too soon for both.
Bruce said: “They’re nowhere near at the moment, but just to see them back on the training ground is a great sight and a lift for everyone.”