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Mavrias makes it 11 for Di Canio's Sunderland revolution
PAOLO DI CANIO'S Sunderland revolution continued yesterday with his 11th signing of the summer as Greek winger Charis Mavrias sealed a four-year contract on Wearside.
The 19-year-old, whose full name is Charalompos but prefers to be called Harry, signed for the Black Cats yesterday for a deal which will be worth around £2million to Panathinkaikos, for whom the Greek international made 59 appearances.
The left winger will be in Di Canio's squad for Saturday's trip to Southampton, and the manager was delighted at finally securing the youngster's signature after a month of negotiations.
“He's a young - a prospect and a talent. He's full of energy and he has good quality,” said Di Canio, whose side travel to St Mary's on Saturday before hosting MK Dons in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday evening. “I'm very happy because he is more mature than his age. He is a guy whose enthusiasm is infectious - he has a good future.
“We have five wingers now. There is an international break coming but we will play three games in a week and we will use all of these players. We want to be protagonists in the Cup and the league.
“It's not easy but with more quality comes more desire for places and I will try to rotate my players.”
Di Canio continues to be linked with central midfielders having missed out on Tom Huddlestone to Hull City last week, and also hopes to sign a left-back with Juventus' Paolo De Cegle the latest name in the frame.
But the Italian refused to be drawn on speculation in the lead-up to tomorrow's Premier League fixture.
“I am not going to talk about all of those things: the exits and who is coming in,” said Di Canio. “I want to be focused entirely on the next game. The club will work on it and there is no need to expend energy on this.”
Craig Gardner has returned from the final game of his suspension following his dismissal at the end of last season, which will give full-back Ondrej Celustka competition for the right-back berth.
Di Canio said: “Craig is available and has shown great energy. He is pushing for his first game and there is a lot of positive energy from him. We will see but I'm happy to have him back this weekend because it gives me a different options.”
Steven Fletcher, who scored the winner at St Mary's last Christmas, is nearing a return to training, but Di Canio has warned against rushing the Scottish international back after an ankle ligament injury.
He said: “I'm very happy. The staff are very happy. He will finally join the group in the next few days and start training. Not full sessions but practice with the team when we have technical and tactical moments. He can speak with his team-mates again; sometimes we have seen him from 50 yards away.
"You can see his desire his enthusiasm but we have to be sensible, intelligent, we have to be intelligent. In my opinion it's better to take another week after a few months out. To accelerate him too much now would be very very stupid.
"I can understand him. Because if it depends on him he can play now. "I can score; I can score. Every game I can score now."
"It's very important. The net is there. He can see the net. It's very important, otherwise we don't win many games."
Southampton, who beat West Bromwich Albion last weekend, are a tough prospect for Di Canio's side having quietly added Victor Wanyama, Dejan Lovren and Daniel Osvaldo to their ranks for a combined total of £35m over the summer, and Di Canio is wary of the threat they possess.
“To play against Southampton is difficult because they are a very good side. They have very many good options. They have a good base already and then spent £36-37million on new players and that gives you a picture of this club.
“They have a good future, also they have a good manager and the team play good and effective football. They are a side that will finish in the top ten, easy.
“They have good options up front: Llana, Rodriguez, Osvaldo, Lambert. They have a fantastic squad and they have a good future.”
However, Di Canio added: “I expect to win there. Even if I play against Manchester United, I expect us to win! It's obvious we're playing against a very good side and we know they have quality.
“We know how to damage them though and it's important that we approach the game with maximum attention because this is a team that works hard on the ball, gets into good positions with the ball and up front. We much show the right attention to detail but if we play with the attention and desire that we did against Fulham and put a bit more fire in the final third we will be OK, for sure.”
“I am curious to see my players individually and as a team - how they approach this game away from home against a team full of energy and quality. It is a good challenge to see what level we are at in terms of personality.”
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