London Hearts Supporters Club

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1 of 021 Rudi Skacel 40 ;Edgaras Jankauskas 70 L SPL H

Gordon is Premiership material, says Banks


STEVE Banks has admitted he didn't know who Craig Gordon was until he met him for the first time this summer but now he believes the Scotland No 1 could easily hold his own with the best goalkeepers in the English Premiership.

Banks signed on in Gorgie in the knowledge he would only be providing back-up to Gordon and he has quickly found out just why the 22-year-old has become something of an irremovable force between the sticks at Tynecastle.

Gordon has enjoyed a meteoric rise since bursting into the first-team as a 19-year-old, going on to become Walter Smith's first choice and have his name linked with a succession of possible moves to the star-studded Premiership.

And Banks, who first caught a glimpse of Gordon at a pre- season training camp for keepers run by Hearts' goalkeeping coach Malcolm Webster, insists the Edinburgh youngster could stand comfortably shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Everton's Richard Wright and Bolton's Jussi Jaaskelainen.

"I can honestly say he's potentially the best goalkeeper I've ever been involved with," said the 33-year-old Englishman. "For 22, he's very calm and very collected, technically he's very good and he will only get better.

"Richard Wright is a prime example of one who came on the scene very young and progressed to England. I think Craig's potentially as good as him. I was also involved with Jussi Jaaskelainen at Bolton. He's been spoken about as one of the top five in the Premiership and I would put Craig in that bracket as well."

Gordon will be a key figure for Hearts again this afternoon as they look to entertain another full house for the visit of Motherwell. The match pitches former Ipswich team-mates Terry Butcher and George Burley against each other in opposite dugouts and Burley was yesterday full of praise for the work his Motherwell counterpart has undertaken with a team Hearts failed to beat on five occasions last season.

"Terry has done a tremendous job on limited resources, so I'm looking forward to the match. He was very much a whole-hearted player on the field and I think he's the same as a manager. All credit to him for how well he's done since he's taken over at Motherwell."

Burley will hold talks with club owner Vladimir Romanov after today's match to discuss the wish-list of new players he has drawn up ahead of Wednesday's transfer deadline.

The Hearts manager, who has denied a rift with the Lithuanian over signing targets and team selections, has been keen to add two fresh faces to bolster his table-topping team but has admitted he is running out of time.

"I'm seeing him after the game and we'll have a little chat about players," added Burley. "I feel my squad's not strong enough but at the moment we've not got anything definite in the pipeline. It's very tight but we'll see how it goes."

Taken from the Scotsman

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