Seb Larsson has said that Joleon Lescott will add much-needed injury cover and Premier League experience to the Sunderland squad.
Lescott suffered relegation with Aston Villa last season but has hundreds of top-flight games under his belt.
With the Black Cats enduring a dramatic injury crisis and Papy Djilobodji being banned for four games, Lescott could be called upon as one of a number of older heads.
He said: “It’s nice to see Joleon through the door. We all know what he’s done in his career and what he’s capable.
“I’m sure he like everyone else won’t want to go through it (relegation) again.
“When you talk about experience, I don’t think we need to worry about him. He’s got more experience than most.
“I think it is important [experience], without a doubt, because it becomes a high-pressure situation. The longer the season goes on, the closer you get to the so-called must-win games when time’s running out and with that comes pressure.
“Everyone deals with pressure differently, but quite often experience does help you.
“Sometimes you walk out to training and you realise, the odd days we’ve only had eight or nine fit lads from the first team to train, which I don’t think I’ve experienced before.
“That’s part of football though, we’ve got to focus on the ones we do have and pick up better results.”
Sunderland suffered another injury blow this week with Victor Anichebe ruled out for 10 weeks after picking up a knee injury in his comeback game at West Brom.
“We were delighted to see him back at the weekend, to only get a few minutes before he broke down and is out for a long time. It’s tough to take,” added Larsson.
“I’m sure for the manager it’s even harder, not to have your squad available and to be able to choose exactly what you want. It’s got to be very frustrating.
“But you can’t dwell on it because the games are going to keep coming, whether we have fit players or not we’ve got to play.
“The one thing that I suppose is surprising this year is that we’ve had so many long-term injuries and they’re all different, so it’s hard to say why.
“It’s rare we’ve had some one missing for just one game, it’s been 6-12 weeks which is a fair bit of time.”