WAYNE Bridge and Sotirios Kyrgiakos will have to bide their time to be included in Sunderland’s starting line-up, admits Martin O’Neill.
The defensive pair moved to the Stadium of Light in deadline day loan deals, but have enjoyed limited involvement with the Black Cats so far – Bridge appearing for just eight minutes from the bench, while Kyrgiakos is yet to make his Sunderland bow.
The duo could have been involved in Sunderland’s midweek FA Cup success at Middlesbrough, but were ineligible as they completed their moves after the original game with the Teessiders.
Sunderland boss O’Neill could introduce the fresh legs of Bridge and Kyrgiakos against Arsenal tomorrow after the Black Cats completed a gruelling 30 minutes of extra-time at the Riverside.
But with Sunderland conceding just four times in 2012, O’Neill knows there is no rush to tinker with his defence.
O’Neill told SportMail: “They know that it is not automatic that they will be in the side.
“I’m delighted to have them here, though and they know they will have to fight to force their way into the team, because we are doing okay at the moment.”
Read more of O’Neill’s comments, plus all the build-up to the weekend’s Arsenal game, in today and tomorrow’s Sportmail.