Mignolet gets second chance
Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet will get the chance to redeem himself after Craig Gordon was ruled out for up to six months.
The 23-year-old Belgium international was left counting the cost of two errors as the Black Cats slipped to a 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Birmingham on Saturday. Manager Steve Bruce hinted after the game that £9million signing Gordon could return for the final five games of the season after sitting out the previous six with a knee problem.
However, the Scotland international has been forced to admit defeat in his bid to avoid surgery and has had an operation in Sweden which will sideline him for between four and six months. Bruce said: "Craig's been following a programme, but when the specialist had a look at the knee again, we were left with no choice but to go ahead with the surgery.
"That just sums our luck up at the moment."
Gordon's misfortune represents a reprieve for Mignolet, whose form during Gordon's absences before Saturday had been hugely encouraging.
He played the opening 13 games of the campaign with the 28-year-old Scot recovering from a broken wrist and kept six clean sheets in the process, and he got the nod once again at the end of February with Gordon struggling after returning from international duty with his knee problem.
He has produced some fine individual displays in five of the six games since behind a defence which has looked increasingly shaky.
However, he was involved in a mix-up with full-back Phil Bardsley which allowed Sebastian Larsson to open the scoring at St Andrew's, and was then unable to keep out Craig Gardner's long-range strike.
Sunderland are without a win in their last nine Premier League games and have collected just one of the 27 points on offer to slip from sixth place to 15th and the fringes of the fight against relegation.
They entertain Wigan, who climbed from the foot of the table to the last safe berth as a result of Saturday's 3-1 win at Blackpool, at the Stadium of Light this weekend.