Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge was on his way to Wearside this morning as he closed in on a loan move to Sunderland.
Press Association Sport understands the 31-year-old former England international was due to undergo a medical as Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill attempts to bolster his injury-hit squad on the final day of the January transfer window.
O'Neill moved for the hugely experienced left-back after his defensive resources were further stretched by the loss of Wes Brown to a suspected medial ligament injury at the weekend.
Bridge has played just 78 minutes of senior football this season after slipping down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium. His only appearance of the campaign to date came in a 2-0 Carling Cup third-round victory over Birmingham on September 21.
Bridge joined City from Chelsea in a £12million move in January 2009, but has managed only 58 appearances in his three years with the club.
He began his career with home-town club Southampton and hit the big time when he was snapped up by Chelsea in a £7million deal in July 2003.
Bridge, who has 30 senior England caps, would fill a position which has been vacant for some time at the Stadium of Light.
Either right-back Phil Bardsley or midfielder Kieran Richardson have more often than not played on the left side of defence for the last two seasons.
O'Neill's predecessor Steve Bruce chased Wigan's Maynor Figueroa for much of his time at the club, but was never able to plug the gap with a specialist.
It is understood npower Championship Reading had more than a passing interest in Bridge, but the offer of Barclays Premier League football appears to have eased Sunderland ahead of the Royals.