ALMOST a year to the day that Craig Gordon’s injury torment began at White Hart Lane, the most expensive goalkeeper in British football will be handed a recall to the Sunderland starting line-up at Tottenham tonight.

After weeks of biding his time on the substitutes bench and gaining match fitness playing for the reserves, Gordon will find himself back in the thick of the Premier League action.

Manager Steve Bruce has decided the time is right to take his young understudy Simon Mignolet out of the spotlight after an impressive start to life in England.

Mignolet, who kept a clean sheet in the 2-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday, has been a major contributor to Sunderland’s run of just one defeat in nine matches – albeit a defeat that was at arch-rivals Newcastle United.

But Bruce, who insists his two goalkeepers are regarded much closer than he would ever have imagined at the start of the campaign, has decided to reinstate Gordon.

The 28-year-old has not played this season after suffering a summer repeat of the fractured arm he sustained in the defeat at Tottenham on November 7 last year.

Gordon returned to action after a three month lay-off, only to fracture his arm again during a routine pre-season training session.

But Bruce feels the fact he has been able to wait before handing him his place back highlights the quality of the squad he now has at his disposal.

And he suggested Kieran Richardson’s performance as a substitute during Saturday’s triumph over Stoke provides further evidence of the sort of competition he wants to have in his squad.

“Kieran came on and did well and that is what you want from the squad,” said Bruce, who confirmed yesterday Phil Bardsley has signed a three-and-a-half year contract extension.

“Phil deserved a new contract and that has freed up Kieran to play wherever we want him to, which is important because we don’t have the biggest of squads.

“It is important when players get a chance that they do what Phil has done. He has come in to the team and played well. Players have to have the ability to come in to the squad and stay there. That is the way to gain my trust.”

Sunderland are without John Mensah tonight and Bruce hopes the defender will not require surgery to the shoulder which has been causing him problems.

Mensah’s absence means Titus Bramble is in line for a return from suspension and he will find himself alongside Michael Turner at the heart of the defence.

Turner, born in Lewisham, was a Tottenham fan as a child and hopes to put one over his boyhood team with a little help from Asamoah Gyan.

Gyan was the matchwinner with a timely double on his first start in the absence of Darren Bent – who is facing three weeks out with a hamstring problem – against Stoke and his talent has been noted by his team-mates.

“Asamoah came in and did a great job for the team, scoring twice,” said Gyan. “I am sure it will give him more confidence than he has. Hopefully he can kick on and show the quality he has got.

“He has been supportive when he has been out of the team. He has not got a strop on and worked hard in training.

When he got the nod he scored two and you can’t do anymore than that.

“I have played against him in training, he is lively and he doesn’t give you a second on the ball. You don’t really know what he will do when he gets it.”

Gyan will be tasked with the challenge of outwitting a Tottenham team which outclassed European champions Inter Milan six days ago.

Bruce believes Spurs manager Harry Redknapp deserves to be the next England boss, saying: “He must be the front-runner. I think it has been said the next England manager is to be English.

There are not many of us so I would have thought Harry would be the obvious choice because of his experience and what he has achieved.

“He would have my support.

We must encourage young English coaches to come and be managers. For me we have surely got an Englishman who is capable of managing the England team.”