Craig Gordon believes Kenwyne Jones is setting the right example to his Sunderland team-mates with his desire and determination.

The Black Cats have slipped down the table following a dismal run of results in recent weeks and are now embroiled in a relegation battle.

There have been some positives amid the disappointment and Gordon has been particularly impressed by the fighting qualities shown by Jones.

Gordon believes the striker, whose defensive work is also appreciated by the rest of the side, has a key role to play in the scrap for survival.

"Kenwyne really looks like he's got the bit between his teeth. I think he's been one of if not our best performer in the last two or three games," Gordon told the Sunderland Echo.

"When he's in the team and really up for it, he gives us a lot and he'll be a really big player for us for the rest of the season.

"He's a handful in both boxes. You can't underestimate the job he does for us defensively when he comes back to help out at corners and free kicks. He clears everything.

"He's been a threat up top as well and we need everyone in the team to be playing with that spark and energy now."

Jones' future was the subject of intense speculation last month when he was linked with a switch to Liverpool.

Manager Steve Bruce was concerned that the rumours might unsettle Jones but Gordon insists the players must now focus solely on trying to stay in the Premier League.

"Kenwyne's got on with his job," said the goalkeeper. "When there's a lot of talk in the papers, there's nothing you can do about it.

"The transfer window's been closed a couple of weeks now and we all know where we stand. This is the squad that's got to get us moving back up the table.

"I don't know if Kenwyne was distracted or not - you'd have to ask him that - but from my point of view, I'd say we've had too many games to think about to get carried away with headlines.

"We're having a tricky run and need to kick-start things again with a win as soon as possible so it's good that all the transfer stuff is out of the way and we can keep our minds on the job."

Kenwyne Jones opens the door to Liverpool as Sunderland striker plans summer switch.
By Sportsmail Reporter.

Liverpool will revive their interest in Kenwyne Jones this summer after the Sunderland striker declared he has not ruled out a dream move to Anfield.

Jones, 25, emerged as Rafa Benitez' top transfer target during the January transfer window but the Spaniard failed in his attempts to land the Trinidad and Tobago star.

Furious Black Cats boss Steve Bruce foiled Liverpool's loan move by slapping a £15million price tag on the towering forward. But Jones has not given up hope of securing a big-money switch to Merseyside.

'If one of the world's big clubs comes in for you, it's understandable a player might have the desire to go to that next level,' he said.

'Until you sign a contract with a new club it's all just talk. January was a crazy time and now I have to focus on the games ahead.'

Jones insisted, however, that he is completely committed to helping Sunderland's survival cause after a heart-to-heart with Bruce persuaded him that he is still highly thought of at the Stadium of Light.

He added: 'The manager spoke to me. The reassuring speech came out to let me know the club still wanted me. That is always nice to hear.

'But sometimes a big situation like the transfer story can make it hard for the manager to say anything.

 'All I can do to prove I am committed to Sunderland by showing it in game.'

Jones has scored seven goals in 21 outings so far this season and will partner Darren Bent in attack for Sunderland's tough trip to Arsenal this weekend.