Lee Cattermole has declared himself fully fit and ready to join the Sunderland revolution.
The Black Cats club captain has been frozen out at the Stadium of Light over the summer but Di Canio pledged to re-integrate the midfielder if he was still at Sunderland after the transfer window snapped shut. And Cattermole is understood to be fully fit after completing three weeks of training without suffering any kind of problem.
However, the Journal understands that Di Canio is likely to overlook Cattermole again this weekend, with on-loan midfielder Ki set for his bow against Arsenal.
Cattermole’s future at Sunderland has been up in the air for most of the close season and he was understood to be close to joining Fulham in July.
However, the move broke down and after no other Premier League clubs showed an interest in the former Middlesbrough midfielder he has re-joined the ranks at Sunderland.
With Di Canio desperate for a steep improvement from his team in a crucial fixture against Arsenal on Saturday he knows that team selection – as well as tactics – will be scrutinised. So far Sebastien Larsson has been the only central midfield ever-present, with the Sunderland boss appearing unconvinced about new signing Cabral.
Some supporters have been mystified by the omission of Cattermole, who offers physical presence and Premier League know-how. But Di Canio is placing his faith in new-boy Ki, who he sees as the playmaker his team have craved.
Where that would leave the club captain is unclear, but a loan move has been mooted by the player’s representatives.
There would be no shortage of Championship takers for the former England under-21 midfielder.
Di Canio led the line for the AC Milan Glorie side which took on a Newcastle legends at a full St James’ Park last night, but it is back to the serious business of trying to get his “revolution” back on track today.
He will address the media today fully aware the pressure is on his Black Cats to at least post an improved performance after a dismal defeat to Crystal Palace was coupled with a deadline day when they sold chief creative player Stephane Sessegnon for £6million.
He will at least have new boys Ki, Andrea Dossena and Liverpool loanee Fabio Borini to pick from.
Former Roma man Borini is delighted to get the chance to impress in the Premier League and admits he is desperate for six months clear of injury.
He said: “My first thought is to have a clear season with nothing major happening.
“I’ve always proved myself in the short-term – Swansea was a three-month loan (where he scored six in eight Championship starts) and then it was three months at Roma before injuries.
“I would like at least six or seven months without getting injured, which would mean all season.
Last season was tough, mostly because of the injuries, not the move.
“Big-money moves happen in football. So do injuries, but they take you down, especially when all you want is to do well for a new team.
“Basically, your body pulls you out. I wanted to prove myself at Liverpool last season and I couldn’t really do it. I’ve come here to do that now.”