SUNDERLAND have been told to forget about signing Maynor Figueroa this month after Roberto Martinez labelled the bids Wigan have received as “insulting”.

Black Cats boss Steve Bruce has been keen to raid his former club for the Honduran this month, but has found the Latics in no mood to do business.

Martinez, his successor at the DW Stadium, wants to keep Figueroa until the summer at least, but the left-back is understood to have been angling for a move to Wearside.

And Wigan’s Spanish boss has not ruled out the possibility of making a complaint to the Premier League about the way his player has become unsettled.

Wigan, however, remain determined to hold on to the 26- year-old and Martinez has been critical of the January transfer window, suggesting the only people to benefit are the agents.

“One of my players has been surrounded by a lot of speculation and stories about him not going away. Unhappy is not the right word, I’m disgusted,”

said Martinez, who did not confirm whether the bids were from Sunderland or another interested club.

“We’ve had two insulting bids for the player, but he is not for sale. I’ve made it clear we’re not going to sell any of our best players.

“If we’re going to sell a player it will be at the right time for the club to collect some money and to reinvest for the next level.”

He added: “The authorities should look into the necessity of the window and the agent who have this power and unhealthy control in the game, with the backing of a Premier League club, and that’s disgusting.

“It gives the opportunity to certain agents to have a big say in the game. The power is given to the wrong people.”

Craig Gordon, meanwhile, has admitted Sunderland can no longer rely on their strong start to the season to keep them out of trouble at the foot of the table.

The Black Cats won five of their opening nine Premier League matches this term, a sequence that briefly lifted them into the top six.

They have subsequently lost eight out of 13 though, and while they have not dropped as far as might have been expected given so wretched a run, they still find themselves within three points of the bottom three.

Monday night’s home game with Stoke gives them an early opportunity to start turning things around, and Gordon admits it is crucial Sunderland rediscover their winning form immediately.

“I don’t think we can argue with the facts,” said the Scotsman, who has started the Black Cats’ last two matches after recovering from a broken arm. “It’s pretty plain to see that things haven’t been good enough recently. We have to stop the rot, whatever that takes.

“Our start has definitely helped us, and it’s allowed us to keep our heads above water.

But the group below us has really bunched up, and we’re only two or three points away from trouble now.

“We really do have to pick things up, and that process has to start now. We have two home games in a row, and we have to be looking at those as the ideal opportunity to put some distance between ourselves and the teams below us.

If we can do that, we can start looking upwards again.”

On a personal level, Gordon is also hoping to engineer a reversal of fortunes in the second half of the season.

The former Hearts goalkeeper has suffered a succession of problems since joining the Black Cats in a then clubrecord £9m deal in 2007. He was recalled in place in Marton Fulop despite not having played a reserves game, and is desperate to enjoy an injuryfree run between now and the end of the season.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that I was playing to my potential earlier in the season,”

said Gordon. “And it was no coincidence that I was free of injury for one of the first times since I came to the club.

“I’ve had a terrible time with injuries, but that was a few months where I was totally injury free and playing the best that I’ve played for Sunderland.

Hopefully, now I’m back again, I can stay free of injury.”

■ Midfielder Lee Cattermole has had a scan on the hamstring injury he sustained at Everton, and will learn the extent of the damage today.