Titus Bramble is under no illusion that he will have to fight for his place in the Sunderland starting line-up, but is hoping that the deadline day departure of Anton Ferdinand will give him the opportunity he needs to establish himself at the heart of the Black Cats' defence.
After enduring an injury-plagued season at the Stadium of Light last year, the former Wigan Athletic stopper has regained fitness, and now has his sights set on a return to manager Steve Bruce's first-team.
"We all wish Anton all the best," the 30-year-old told the club's official website. "He's been a real character in the dressing room.
"Him leaving will give someone else a chance and hopefully that's me."
Bramble's task has been made all the more difficult with the summer arrival of former Manchester United duo Wes Brown and John O'Shea, who moved to Wearside with the sole intention of regular first-team football.
"We've got great competition for places at the back and I've always said that by bringing in players like Wes Brown and John O'Shea is a great thing for this club.
"If you have a bad game or aren't at 100 per cent in training then someone is going to come in and take your place."
The increase in competition for places is something that Bramble will thrive on, and he is using the international break as a period to get his head down and put himself in contention for inclusion when the domestic season restarts next weekend.
"It's always frustrating to not be playing," he concluded. "No-one wants to train hard all week and then not play at the weekend and I'm no different.
"I've struggled for a run of games over the last season or so but that's part of football. You have to deal with it and move on. I'll be training hard and [will] hopefully get the nod for the Chelsea game [next weekend]."
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