Managerless Sunderland have made their first summer signing after Niall Quinn's former Republic of Ireland team-mate Kenny Cunningham agreed a one-year deal.
The 35-year-old, who has been training with the Black Cats for the last eight days, is expected to make his debut in the club's friendly at Rotherham tonight.
Chairman elect Quinn, who is keen not to re-shape the squad to much before appointing Mick McCarthy's successor, turned to Cunningham to bring vital experience to the club following Gary Breen's departure.
He said: 'It was clear that we needed leadership on the field and when Kenny became available, it was too good an opportunity to miss.
'He will set the standards for the other players, in a similar way to Steve Bould did here, whoever the manager is.'
Cunningham was a free agent after leaving relegated Birmingham at the end of last season.
He could be joined in the side by keeper Kelvin Davis, whose proposed move to Southampton has stalled.
The 29-year-old was allowed to leave the Sunderland's training camp at Bath University last week to talk to the Saints, but with the clubs still some distance apart in their valuation of a man who cost then manager Mick McCarthy £1.25million last summer, no deal has been agreed.