Nyron Nosworthy has admitted he is facing the biggest challenge of his career after falling out of favour with Sunderland.
The experienced defender is eager for regular action, but appears to have no future under Steve Bruce at the Stadium of Light and there is no sign of a loan move on the horizon.
The 30-year-old last turned out for the Black Cats in January 2010 in their 2-0 defeat at Everton, joining Sheffield United on loan for the remainder of that season and then spending last term with the Blades.
But the former Gillingham full-back, whose current contract expires in the summer, was unable to secure another switch during the transfer window and now has to be content with training and reserve team outings.
"It's incredibly disappointing because I love playing football and at the moment it's just not happening," he told the Sunderland Echo.
Unusual and difficult
"I understand I'm not in the manager's plans at Sunderland and a loan would be the best idea but it isn't as easy as it seems to get a new club.
"People might think you just walk out of one and into another but it's not as simple as that, especially in the current situation in football.
"It's frustrating because I've never had this in my career before and so it's unusual and difficult.
"It's certainly the biggest challenge of my career, there's no doubt about that.
"There's a first time for everything I guess but I just have to take it and deal with it and keep on giving my best because at the end of the day I'm still employed by Sunderland and I have to make sure that I'm as fit as I can be for whatever the club might ask of me."