Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has reassured Anton Ferdinand that he still has a future at the Stadium of Light.
The £8million defender was dropped for Sunday's 5-2 win over Wolves after Bruce blooded summer recruits Paolo Da Silva and John Mensah in his new-look back four.
Although he made a brief as a substitute, replacing Paraguay captain Da Silva at right-back, the rejection will be a blow to the former West Ham defender who has been a virtual ever-present since his arrival on Wearside last summer.
It follows a nightmare start to the season for the former England Under 21 centre-back who took the blame for the defeat at Stoke and conceded a penalty in the 3-1 thrashing at Burnley.
But Bruce said: `I left Anton out on Sunday but he will be back at some point, don't worry about that.
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.
`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'll have no qualms playing him in in the future.
`It is 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. Everybody will get their chance.'
Regular right-back Phil Bardsley
, who missed the Wolves game with a virus, is hoping to recover in time to face his former club Manchester United this weekend.
Hungary keeper Marton Fulop made a successful return from a heel injury in Sunderland the reserves' 2-1 win over Scunthorpe United last night.