Sunderland have failed to replace this player adequately after he left on a free

Sunderland's right backs have not performed as well as Phil Bardsley, who joined Stoke City in the summer.

Sunderland's season has not gone to plan so far and one of the reasons for this has been due to the fact that they haven't been able to replace Phil Bardsley adequately.

Bardsley moved to Stoke City after six years at the Stadium of Light and compensating for his departure has been tougher than many had predicted.

The right-back had been a solid performer for Sunderland during his time at the club, but he was never a standout player.

However, his value to the side has been shown in his absence as the Black Cats have found out just how tough it is to replace a player as reliable as the 29-year-old.

Sunderland brought in Billy Jones to fill their right-back void this summer, but his season has been disrupted through injury.

It has meant that Santiago Vergini has often had to be used as an auxiliary full-back and he has struggled to match the standard of Bardsley.

  AssistsTackles per gameHeaders per gameInterceptions per gameClearances per gameCrosses per gameChances created per gameAppearancesMins Played
Phil Bardsley 1 2.68 1.86 1.4 2.95 2.36 0.68 22 1899
Billy Jones 0 2.5 2.33 1 1.83 1.5 0.5 6 539
Santiago Vergini 0 1.81 1.22 1.51 3.25 1.11 0.18 27 2306

The Potters man has shown more in a defensive sense than either of Sunderland's right-backs while also providing more of a threat going forward.

It proves just how much Sunderland are missing him and they may regret not working harder to tie him to fresh terms.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch