Sunderland boss Steve Bruce insists Anton Ferdinand is still very much a part of his plans at the Stadium of Light.
Ferdinand, 24, had been a regular in Bruce's starting Xl before his error in the 3-1 defeat to Burnley.
The Peckham-born defender conceded a penalty after a reckless challenge and was subsequently dropped for the Carling Cup win over Birmingham as well as the league win over Wolves, with Bruce instead favouring on-loan Ghana international John Mensah.
Ferdinand figured on the bench on both occasions, making a late appearance against Wolves when replacing a tired Paulo Da Silva.
Yet, despite his lack of action in both games, Bruce insists the £8million defender will be back in the line-up soon enough.
"I left Anton out on Sunday (against Wolves) but he will be back at some point, don't worry about that," Bruce told the Sunderland Echo.
"It's a really good thing to have competition for places and players looking over their shoulders, knowing they can't afford to make mistakes because there's someone else there waiting to take their place.
"It's what you want as a manager."
Ferdinand was tried at right-back during the final few minutes against Wolves at the weekend, a position Bruce feels better suits his style of play.
He added: "Anton started out his career as a right-back at West Ham, so I know he can play there and it's a position that I have no qualms playing him in in the future."
With Mensah and Da Silva bolstering the Black Cats' defensive options this term, competition for a starting berth is rife.
Complimenting the club's strength in depth, Bruce added: "It's a long season and you need a squad because you need to have options.
"Players are intelligent enough to know that without really strong back-up, the squad would struggle.
"Everyone will get their chance."