Phil Bardsley returns to Sunderland fold

Sunderland have lifted the suspension of Phil Bardsley after the defender apologised for his actions during the course of the previous few months.

The 28-year-old had been banned from both the Stadium and the club's training ground following series of disciplinary incidents. Beginning with a photo of the former Manchester United defender on the floor of a local casino covered in £50 notes, he was then banned from the training ground and stadium after found to be mocking the club on social media following their opening day defeat to Fulham.

Releasing a statement via the club's official website, Bardsley said: "I would like to apologise to the club and supporters for my comments made on social media. I understand how they may have been interpreted and it was a serious error of judgement. I accept the punishment that has been handed to me by the football club and will now focus my attention and efforts on rehabilitation and regaining my fitness."

It was though the defender would be able to secure a move away from the Stadium of Light, with Martin Jol's Fulham showing strong interest. However, the Scotland international suffered a broken foot during a development squad game that scuppered the likelihood of any transfer.