Sunderland V Fulham at Stadium of Light : Match Preview

16 August 2013 06:33
Sunderland V Fulham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Sunderland must match fans' passion

Paolo Di Canio has warned his Sunderland new boys to beware a mighty shock to the system when they step out to launch the Italian's Stadium of Light revolution against Fulham.

Di Canio is concerned a number of his recent signings may have underestimated the passion for the game in the region which he believes is crucial to realising his ambitious long-term plans.

Most of the 10 summer arrivals are expected to feature against Martin Jol's men, including B#6.5million ItalianEmanuele Giaccherini and Jozy Altidore, who scored a hat-trick for the US in midweek.

Di Canio said: "It was well known about the atmosphere in the north-east of England but once I moved here I was surprised a bit because I couldn't imagine the passion of the people every day.

"It is something amazing. Everybody is talking about what reception they will have but in my opinion three or four players don't understand exactly. It is something magic and will come as a positive surprise.

"We don't have the history of Liverpool, Manchester United or Arsenal but in terms of potential we are a massive club. They (the players) are starting to realise the potential we have and what we can build for the future."

Di Canio's summer revolution, during which he has introduced all-day training sessions and banned players having single rooms on away trips in order to foster a better team spirit, is still not over as he hunts for two more new faces.

On-loan Turk Ondrej Celustka is expected to assume the problematic left-back berth against the Cottagers while Di Canio concedes he is still short of a talismanic midfield influence to make his summer dealing complete.

Despite an encouraging pre-season campaign, defender Wes Brown will definitely miss the season opener with a slight recurrence of a knee injury, although Di Canio stressed Brown's absence would be mainly a precautionary measure.

Fulham meanwhile have signed Darren Bent on a season-long loan from Aston Villa.

Bent, 29, was Villa's record signing when arrived from Sunderland in January 2011 but he slipped behind Christian Benteke in the pecking order at Villa Park last season.

Fulham manager Martin Jol signed Bent when he was in charge of Tottenham and is delighted to bring the England international to Craven Cottage.

Jol said: "Darren Bent is a striker I have always admired. He has shown in the Barclays Premier League that he is composed and clinical in front of goal but, even if he is not scoring, he is involved in some good link-up play, creating opportunities for his team-mates.

"I'm delighted that he has joined us, he gives us pace up front and I am confident that he will add to our goals scored tally this season."

Press Association Sport understands the deal does not include an option to buy next summer, with the Cottagers paying a loan fee and Bent's wages in full for the duration of his stay in west London.

Fulham midfielder Alexander Kacaniklic is a doubt for the long trip because of a hamstring injury.

Goalkeeper David Stockdale is struggling with a thumb problem, but new signing Maarten Stekelenburg is the club's number one choice in the position.

Adel Taarabt, a loan signing from QPR, is short of match fitness but will be included in the squad.

Source: PA