Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge has joined Sunderland on loan until the end of the season.
Bridge, who has not played a competitive game since September, has gone straight into Martin O'Neill's squad for Wednesday night's Premier League match against Norwich.
O'Neill said: "I'm hoping that with Wayne's undoubted experience and ability he can be a big help to the team until the end of the season.
"I'm very pleased to have him here and with the number of injuries we've sustained recently I'm sure he'll be a great help to us.''
O'Neill moved for the hugely experienced former England 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 Eastlands. 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 £12 million 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 £7 million deal in July 2003.
Bridge, who has 30 senior England caps, will 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.