Martin O'Neill feels that the signing of Carlos Cuellar has given Sunderland significant cover at the back.
O'Neill spent £8million bringing Cuellar from Rangers during his managerial spell at Aston Villa and he is now delighted to have the Spaniard back in his plans, this time on a free transfer for the Black Cats.
With Titus Bramble and Wes Brown also fully fit ahead of Sunderland's Premier League campaign, O'Neill is glad to have the luxury of options when it comes to picking his first choice centre-backs.
"Carlos is a strong centre-back and that's where he likes to play," the Irishman told the club's official website.
"He did play a lot for me at right-back at Aston Villa too, particularly when we had James Collins and Richard Dunne in the centre.
"Carlos will always say he's better on the ball than I give him credit for, and that's probably true.
"He's very sound and a strong character. His contract had come to an end at Villa and I thought he was certainly worthwhile taking on."
He added: "We've had a few injuries to some very decent centre-backs we have here at the football club.
"Cuellar might help see us through the season. The number of players we had out last season at any given stage, particularly in that defensive department, was hard to take at times."