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Di Canio leaves Sessegnon behind for Palace trip
STEPHANE SESSEGNON has been axed from the Sunderland squad for tomorrow's trip to Crystal Palace but manager Paolo Di Canio insists the decision does not necessarily mean the end of the forward's career on Wearside.
Sessegnon has been charged with drink driving after he was stopped in Newcastle city centre by Northumbria Police on Tuesday night when his team-mates were playing a Capital One Cup tie with MK Dons.
The 29-year-old had been rested by Di Canio for the fixture and the Italian boss was disappointed the player was not at the Stadium of Light to celebrate a comeback win over the Dons in the second round.
Di Canio had not insisted on his non-playing players attending the cup tie, although he is believed to be disappointed Sessegnon opted to stay away and do other things on a match-day for the club he plays for.
The situation means £5m rated Sessegnon - who is attracting interest fron Middle East club El-Jaish - will be left behind when Sunderland fly to London later today ahead of the match at Selhurst Park, where the Benin international would have been expected to start.
He has played in the opening Premier League fixtures against Fulham and Southampton, but his midweek controversy has led to him being overlooked while Di Canio conducts his own investigation in to the matter.
But the former Swindon manager is adamant that, despite discarding full-back Phil Bardsley for his antics in a casino at the end of last season, he is someone who can give second chances to people.
“It depends what they are doing and if they are genuinely sorry,” said Di Canio. “If you arrive a bit late and I fine you, if they become more professional afterwards, then that can be it.
“But if you don’t even think you are wrong, you might say sorry but don’t mean it, so that is different. I can read my players and I know the ones who are genuinely sorry if they do something wrong.
“It is difficult to give a second chance to somebody who breaks my rules and thinks it is normal because they will do it again. If a footballer says he is really sorry and you think he means it then yes there is a second chance. I will judge each case on its merits.”
Sessegnon was stopped by police at around the same time on Tuesday night as the MK Dons went a goal up at Sunderland. Di Canio watched his team recover in the closing stages to win the game 4-2.
But for the opening 75 minutes he was frustrated along with the Sunderland fans at his side's inability to cruise past lower league opposition, heightening his hopes of landing a couple more players before the transfer window closes on Monday.
He has already signed 11 players this summer but still feels his squad is short of the desired creativity required to make an impact on the Premier League this season.
Striker Steven Fletcher is likely to be involved again tomorrow after being involved against the Dons following his return from ankle ligament surgery, but Di Canio would still like a couple more options at least.
Director of football Roberto De Fanti is working on things, knowing there are still a couple of areas in need of addressing after hitting stumbling blocks on a number of fronts this summer.
Di Canio said: “I can’t say anything new on transfers. We still have the same team but we do need something. I have always said that. I cannot say how close we are to new signings because it is not my department.
“There are others who know more than me and they are working. They know who I want. At this club nothing will be announced until it is definite. I want to concentrate on the next game. I still want a left-back, a centre-midfielder, but I would also like a striker, another winger ... (laughs!).”
With the exception of Sessegnon, whose omission will mean slight tinkering to his forward line with Connor Wickham pressing for a start, there are no fresh injury problems for Sunderland.
And Di Canio, whose side have a point from their opening two league games, expects more from the Black Cats following on from the anaemic display for the majority of the victory over MK Dons. He said: “We know our league form has to be a lot better than last season. Our fans might be expecting us to win at Crystal Palace and so am I. It won't be easy. We will go there to win.
“To do that we must think about those 75 minutes in the cup when we did not do things right. If we play like that then we will not do it right again.”
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