CELTIC are ready to resurrect their interest in Craig Gordon, with the Scotland international’s future on Wearside increasingly precarious.
Time is running out for Gordon to make an impression on Martin O’Neill with just three months left on the 29-year-old’s contract at the Stadium of Light.
O’Neill told the Gazette last week that he was considering handing the stopper an opportunity in the starting XI before the end of the campaign.
But Gordon didn’t even make the bench for either of Sunderland’s Easter outings, with just five Premier League games remaining for the £9m man to make his first competitive appearance in 14 months.
With no contract talks imminent, Celtic are mindful of Gordon’s position as potentially being one of the most attractive free transfers on the market this summer.
Hoops boss Neil Lennon had considered taking Gordon on loan last summer, only for the move to be scuppered by his ongoing knee problems, plus wage levels at the Stadium of Light.
Instead, Newcastle academy product Fraser Forster arrived on a second loan spell and the Magpies stopper has played a key part in helping Lennon’s side lift the SPL title.
Celtic are hopeful of converting Forster’s loan into a £2m permanent switch during the summer.
But should that move fall through, Gordon is Celtic’s chief contingency plan and are able to hold talks with the former Hearts man before the end of the season.
O’Neill has said that he would ideally like to keep Gordon, Keiren Westwood and Simon Mignolet at Sunderland, but realises the difficulties of boasting three international keepers on the books.
And given Gordon’s contract situation and doubts over his long-term fitness, he is by far the likeliest of the trio to depart Wearside in the summer.
Meanwhile, Sunderland’s second string were due to entertain Aston Villa today in a behind-closed-doors Barclays Premier Reserve League North fixture at the Academy of Light.