Di Canio: Sunderland Fans can make the difference

Sunderland's Paolo Di Canio.
Sunderland's Paolo Di Canio.
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PAOLO DI CANIO says Stoke’s predictability doesn’t make it any easier to contain Tony Pulis’ side.

The Potters moved to the magical 40-point mark last weekend after securing a 1-0 win over Norwich in typically direct fashion.

Charlie Adam netted the only goal of the game after latching onto Peter Crouch’s flick-on from Ryan Shawcross’ long ball, to secure back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since December and subdue what had been intense relegation fears.

But while Di Canio is well aware of what is heading Sunderland’s way tonight, the head coach remains wary of the danger Stoke can pose from their aerial assault.

“Everyone knows they are a physical and strong team,” said Di Canio. “They use the long throw-in and a lot of set plays.

“They are dangerous but in some ways they are predictable. But that doesn’t mean it is easy to face them.

“The goal against Norwich is a typical example of how they play.

“They don’t play tippy-tappy football. They play direct and try to damage their opponents.”

The Stadium of Light has proved a miserable hunting ground for Stoke, with the Potters’ last win on Wearsider coming at Roker Park in 1994.

And Di Canio is hoping to make that home advantage count after three of his opening four games in charge of Sunderland have come on the road.

“To play at home is important because we did a good job against Everton,” added Di Canio.

“We’ve only had one home game and now we play two which is really important.

“When you don’t have many options or when the players get tired, it’s an extra motivation to play at home.

“We want the Stadium of Light to become a fortress and that can happen if they play well and if the players push hard like they did against Everton.

“My players have done an amazing job in a few weeks, but at the Stadium of Light we saw what can happen when the fans are behind you.

“The fans are crucial for any club, but even more so here.

“There will be 40,000 coming on Monday night which is amazing when it is on television.

“They were amazing at Villa Park too, but the players have the main part, and with that combination, we can do this.”