Di Canio aims for fittest ever Cats

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By JOHN WAR­DLE

PAOLO DI CANIO is plot­ting a bru­tal ex­am­i­na­tion of his play­ers’ fit­ness at Sun­der­land.

Di Canio’s squad start pre-sea­son train­ing to­day, with the Ital­ian de­ter­mined to make them as healthy as any team in the Pre­mier League.

The man­ager was un­happy about the fit­ness lev­els of the play­ers he in­her­ited from Martin O’Neill.

And he has warned them to pre­pare for a pun­ish­ing time when they ar­rive at a train­ing camp in Italy next week.

Di Canio, who twice used the same venue while in charge at Swin­don, said: “You will see the fittest Sun­der­land team there has ever been.”

The play­ers will train at least twice a day, a regime that was wel­comed by defender Car­los Cuel­lar.

“Last sea­son, you could see the play­ers pick up in­juries or cramp be­cause we were work­ing so hard to win ev­ery match,” said Cuel­lar (right).

“Some­times, you give more than 100 per cent, and we didn’t have that ex­tra fit­ness.

“I don’t think we’re go­ing to have that prob­lem next year.”

Di Canio is des­per­ate to tie up at least five more new sign­ings be­fore the squad leave for their boot camp.

His top tar­get re­mains In­ter Mi­lan’s Al­fred Dun­can. In­ter don’t want to sell the Ghana star, but are will­ing to talk to Sun­der­land about a loan.

The Black Cats boss also wants Wi­gan’s Cal­lum McMananam, Tot­ten­ham’s Tom Hud­dle­stone and Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie, who played for him at Swin­don.

Arse­nal keeper Vito Man­none will move to the Sta­dium of Light once he passes a med­i­cal.

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