No summer break for Sunderland’s Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio.
Paolo Di Canio.
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PAOLO DI CANIO will sacrifice a summer holiday to conduct his widespread reforms at the Stadium of Light.

Di Canio has worked over-time since succeeding Martin O’Neill at the Sunderland helm less than two months ago, with the Italian regularly arriving at his desk before 8am and remaining at the Academy of Light until midnight.

That will not change even though the campaign has ground to a halt.

Di Canio, who had a six week break from football after resigning as Swindon manager in February, is not heading to the sun, insisting he has too much work to do in re-shaping a side that finished fourth bottom in the Premier League table.

Even if he returns to his native Italy briefly, Di Canio says he will still be glued to the telephone or meeting Milan-based agent Roberto De Fanti, who is due to be confirmed as Sunderland’s new director of football this summer.

Di Canio told the Echo: “I will be working, even if I go back to Italy for three days.

“I will still spend 20 hours on the telephone or go to Milan to meet Roberto.

“I have many things to do.

“My family know what it is like and they may join me at some point. But I did that in League One or League Two (at Swindon) and the main job starts now.

“This club needs to take a massive step for everybody because we want to change everything here.”

Transfers will dominate Di Canio’s thinking over the next month after admitting he is eager to land half-a-dozen new signings.

That figure is likely to increase, with an already-thin squad being further reduced by the departures of out-of-contract Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon, plus loanees Kader Mangane and Danny Rose.

Phil Bardsley is expected to be offloaded and he may not be the last, with Danny Graham linked to newly-promoted Cardiff City, just four months after arriving at the Stadium of Light.

Di Canio will start his rebuilding job by constructing a new-look defence, with Maritimo centre-half Valentin Roberge set to be the first arrival at the back.

But the Sunderland boss is also keen to boost his options in midfield and up front after seeing Sunderland score a humble eight goals in his first seven games in charge.