Ferdinand prepared to fill in for Sunderland

Anton Ferdinand says he will play anywhere Sunderland manager Steve Bruce asks him to as he looks to resurrect a frustrating season.

The £8 million defender started the campaign as one of Bruce's first-choice men at the back, but the arrivals of Michael Turner, John Mensah and Paulo da Silva, coupled with his own injury problems, have seen him slip down the pecking order in recent months.

Ferdinand returned after more than two months out with an ankle problem in Saturday's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Arsenal, but did so initially in an unaccustomed midfield role and then at left-back. However, with the Black Cats struggling to halt a 13-game winless run which has seen them slip to within three points of the relegation zone, he is happy to slot in anywhere.

"If the gaffer wants me to play left-back, I will do it. If he wants me to play right wing, I will do it," Ferdinand said. "It has been a very frustrating period for me. I'm used to be one of the focal points of the team, and it has been difficult. These are the things that make you the player you are.

"No-one has seen me sulk or walk about saying I should be in the team instead of someone else. That's not the person I am.

"I give my best to the boys and treat each game the same whether I'm playing or not," he added. "It would be unfair on the boys who are playing if I acted any other way. I'm happy to be back now and hopefully I can contribute to the team."

Meanwhile, Hartlepool have signed the Sunderland striker Roy O'Donovan on loan until the end of the season. The 24-year-old, who has struggled to secure a regular place with the Premier League outfit and joined Sunderland from Cork City in 2007, has impressed while training with Pools over the last week and was in line to make his debut against Carlisle last night.

The Hartlepool director of sport Chris Turner said: "It's an opportunity for him to show us what we can do. He has genuine pace which I feel we've been lacking. I think he'll freshen things up for us and hopefully enjoy his spell with the club."

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