GUDNI Bergsson has backed countryman Gretar Steinsson to emerge stronger from his recent spell on the sidelines.

The Icelandic defender has been restricted to just 11 minutes of football this season after falling behind Sam Ricketts in the pecking order at the Reebok following the former Hull man’s summer arrival.

But Bergsson, pictured, believes Steinsson, a virtual ever present last season, will force his way back into Gary Megson’s plans.

And the Wanderers legend feels the battle for the full-back slot can only be good for the club.

“Competition for the right-back position will keep them both on their toes, which will be good for both players and the whole team,” said former Bolton captain Bergsson.

“Gretar can play right midfield and centre half and gives the manger options, but his favourite position is right back and that is where he will want to play.

“He is the type of player who will get on with it.

“From playing amateur football in Iceland, right through playing in Switzerland, Holland and now England, he has always improved and shown he is up to the challenge.

“He will give 100 per cent to try and make sure he is in the team.”

Bergsson was influential in Steinsson joining Wanderers, first recommending him in 2000 before the player completed a £3.5million switch from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in January 2008.

And the ex-Wanderers defender, who made more than 300 appearances in eight years at the Reebok, has tipped the 27-year-old to get even better.

He said: “He’s improved at every level he’s played at since he was in Iceland.

“He’s done really well and gives the side an extra dimension attacking wise. He chipped in with a few goals and quite a few assists last year and is a great asset.

“I thought he was ready when I brought him over in 2000 but it wasn’t the right time for the club. Since then he’s gone from strength to strength.

“He’s still improving and I’m sure we’ll see an even better Gretar Steinsson this season.”

Bergsson is confident Megson’s men can recover from their pointless start to the new campaign - and improve on last season’s 13th-place finish.

“We need to build on last season and be in the top half of the table,” he said.

“The last few seasons have been difficult for the club but we’ve stayed in the Premiership and that’s the most important thing.

“The squad looks stronger than last year and we need to carry on from last season and keep improving.”