Craig Gordon return lifted Sunderland - Michael Turner

Sunderland defender Michael Turner has said he and his teammates were delighted to see Craig Gordon back in the first-team after a lengthy absence.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper started the Black Cats' 2-2 draw with Bolton on Saturday, his first appearance since a 2-1 loss to Tottenham in February 2011.

"It's great, everyone's pleased to see Craig back," Gordon told BBC Newcastle.

"He's had 15 months since he last played, so well done to him for getting back playing, he's had a tough ride."

Injury-hit Gordon

  • Since joining Sunderland from Hearts in August 2007, Gordon has been limited to 95 first-team appearances
  • His first problem came with an ankle injury in 2008 that kept him out of the side for four months, he then underwent surgery on a knee problem at the tail end of 2008-09 campaign
  • Gordon broke his arm in a game against Spurs in November 2009, and then suffered a repeat of the injury during the summer of 2010
  • Following an operation to repair an anterior cruciate ligament in April 2011, Gordon was ruled out for eight months and spent another four pushing for a return to fitness

Gordon, who suffered a string of injuries including ankle, forearm and knee problems, has been kept out of the first-team picture by the form of Simon Mignolet and Keiran Westwood.

However with the former Hearts custodian out of contract in the summer, boss Martin O'Neill has handed him an opportunity to impress with Premier League safety assured.

Turner added: "It's always tough when you've been out for months on end.

"I'm sure he'll be pleased with how it went for him."

Despite making an incident-free return to first-team action, the Scotland international was denied a clean sheet by a brace for Bolton's Kevin Davies.

The 35-year-old centre-forward caused problems for Turner and his defensive colleagues throughout the afternoon, highlighting why he was a January transfer target for O'Neill.

"He always pulls onto the far post when crosses come in," Turner added.

"If the ball is hung up in the air, and he's breathing down your neck, it's going to be a tough ball to deal with.

"He's made a career out of hanging at the back stick and he's done it twice to hurt us."