Injured Sunderland star back in fold after apologising for mocking opening-day defeat
Phil Bardsley's Sunderland exile is over after he apologised for mocking the club's opening day defeat by Fulham.
The 28-year-old full-back was suspended by the Black Cats over a comment posted on the social media site Instagram after the 1-0 defeat which read: "Great opening day. Hahahhahaha hahahhaha!!!".
But Bardsley, who is currently recovering from a broken foot, has now apologised and his ban has been lifted.
He said in a statement: "I would like to apologise to the club and supporters for my comments made on social media.
"I understand how they may have been interpreted and it was a serious error of judgement.
"I accept the punishment that has been handed to me by the football club and will now focus my attention and efforts on rehabilitation and regaining my fitness."
However, Scotland international Bardsley's return to the fold does not necessarily mean he will have a place in manager Paolo Di Canio's plans once he has regained fitness.
The defender was made to train with the club's Under-21s during the summer after being photographed at a casino in May, and a proposed move to Fulham collapsed when his injury struck.