Ferdinand revels in second chance
Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand is revelling in the chance to prove himself all over again in the club's hour of need.
The 25-year-old turned in an impressive individual display in the Black Cats' 1-0 win over Bolton in the midst of a defensive crisis which is deepening by the week.
"All I have asked for is a run of games and I seem to be getting that at the moment," he said.
With first-choice central partnership Titus Bramble and Michael Turner both on the long-term casualty list with knee injuries, John Mensah picked up an ankle injury which is likely to sideline him for up to three weeks.
Ferdinand started the game alongside Mensah and then teamed up with Nedum Onuoha following the Ghana international's premature departure after his own return from the back-related hamstring problem which forced him off at Fulham last weekend.
The pair were hugely instrumental in Sunderland's 10th clean sheet of the season - their ninth in the Barclays Premier League - although they needed a stunning save from keeper Craig Gordon to claim three points which catapulted them into sixth place.
Bruce was full of praise for the former West Ham defender, who has emerged from a series of niggling injuries and a spectacular summer fall-out with his manager to re-establish himself just months after looking certain to leave the club.
He added: "That's what I want to be judged on, a run of games, not one game here, one game there. I want to be judged on a run of games.
"It's just nice to know that I am a big part of the team at the moment and needed. That only breeds confidence into a player and that's what it is doing to me.
"It has been a rollercoaster, but hopefully that's the end of the rollercoaster now and all my niggles are behind me."