Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill says Craig Gardner deserves plenty of credit for the way he has filled in as an emergency full-back this season.
Gardner usually plays in midfielder but lined up at right-back for O'Neill at Villa occasionally and has now reprised the role because first-choice Phil Bardsley has been out with an ankle problem.
O'Neill said: "He has done very, very well indeed, Craig, as he is essentially a midfield player.
"I probably didn't expect Phil Bardsley to be out for the length of time that he has been. He injured himself in the first three days of pre-season training.
"Craig has filled in there and he has done brilliantly for us, really brilliantly, and I couldn't ask for any more.
"He has learned that position. He did fill in on occasions at Aston Villa there, but he is a stronger player now and I think he is a better player now.
"He is less daunted by it too. He always felt that wingers were coming at him left, right and centre. Now he is capable of coping with it."
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