CRAIG Gordon hopes he isn’t needed to be a derby hero although admits there is obvious inspiration in keeping out the Magpies attack.
Gordon was an unused substitute in October’s humiliating 5-1 defeat at Newcastle United after just returning to the fold from a broken arm.
But after being rested for last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to League One Notts County, Gordon will be back between the sticks to face Newcastle on Sunday.
Gordon has already enjoyed one iconic moment this season after the Scottish international produced a stunning save to deny Bolton’s Zat Knight at the Stadium of Light last month.
The £9million keeper realises making a crucial save in the derby will live much longer in the memory though after seeing the legacy left by one of his predecessors.
Pictures of Thomas Sorensen’s save from Alan Shearer’s penalty in the November 2000 St James’s Park victory adorn the walls at the Academy of Light although Gordon hopes he enjoys a quieter day on Sunday.
The 28-year-old said: “People understandably focus on who will be the goal hero in these games.
“But in terms of the Wear-Tyne derby, the obvious example is Thomas Sorensen’s late penalty save from Alan Shearer.
“You can’t really forget something like that, especially when there’s pictures everywhere around the training ground.
“Steve (Bruce) hasn’t told me to take an extra look at them to get inspiration for Sunday. But that was a good moment for this club and one that will always be remembered for a very long time.
“Of course you would like to have a major say in a derby with a save at a crucial moment, but that sort of hero moment doesn’t happen often for a goalkeeper.
“I’d love to be that person but hopefully my time to make a save will come after we’ve scored a few at the other end.
“I’ll not look be going into Sunday’s game looking to be the hero. I’ll be content just to go out there and do my job.”
Speculation yesterday suggested Manchester United were preparing a summer move for Gordon – something Black Cats boss Bruce has been quick to deny.
Gordon has 18 months left to run on his contract and insists he would love to extend his stay at the Stadium of Light after moving from Hearts in August 2007.
He said: “There has been nothing happening at all on the contract front. I just play football.
“If Sunderland want to speak to me they can. If not then I’ll just continue playing and doing as well as I can for the club.
“But if Sunderland come to speak to me then yes I would welcome the chance to discuss a new contract.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here and I’m very happy to be playing for this club.”