Fitness boost for Sunderland new boy Diakite

Modibo Diakite
Modibo Diakite
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EXCLUSIVE

MODIBO DIAKITE’s stint on the sidelines is expected to be a brief one after the Bosman signing was left out of Sunderland’s trip to Hong Kong.

Diakite is yet to feature for the Black Cats during pre-season after missing both of Sunderland’s behind-closed-doors games in Italy with a slight hamstring strain.

That injury was sustained on only the fourth day of pre-season at the Academy of Light and required the former Lazio centre-half to spend eight days on the sidelines.

After only just returning to full fitness prior to Sunderland’s trip to the Far East for the Barclays Asia Trophy, Di Canio opted not to take a chance on Diakite.

But the Sunderland head coach is confident that after a week on Wearside, working alongside the club’s fitness and medical staff, Diakite can play a part in pre-season.

Di Canio told the Echo: “He’s got a little injury because after four days at the Academy of Light, we had a match and you could see everyone wanted to push to give their best.

“He made two or three very hard tackles and he hurt his hamstring and was out for eight days.

“We decided not to bring him to Hong Kong because it’s better if he stays at the Academy of Light morning and afternoon with the physio and fitness coach.

“Obviously, he couldn’t be part of this trip, but the other signings have made me very happy already.”

Di Canio admits Sunderland are also taking a cautious approach with Diakite due to the 26-year-old’s injury record.

Diakite missed the bulk of last season at Lazio through injury, yet Di Canio says a balance has to be struck between competitive training and pure fitness work.

When asked about Diakite’s run of injuries last season, Di Canio added: “This is also a problem.

“When there is someone who is running a risk sometimes, I try to keep him calm.

“That is not easy because it’s in their nature.

“But if they only run, run, run, rather than playing in a training game, you don’t give them the chance to express themselves in a match.”