Giaccherini’s back but Di Canio pays tribute to Mavrias

Sunderland's Emanuele Giaccherini.
Sunderland's Emanuele Giaccherini.

EMANUELE Giaccherini will go straight back into the Sunderland starting XI at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, even though Paolo Di Canio insists that Charis Mavrias is providing stern competition out wide.

Giaccherini missed last weekend’s defeat to Arsenal after the £6.5million summer signing sustained a slight hamstring strain on international duty for Italy.

But the 28-year-old has resumed full training this week and will make a swift return at The Hawthorns in Saturday’s crunch clash between the Premier League’s bottom two.

That is despite fellow new boy Mavrias enjoying a promising full debut against the Gunners, with head coach Di Canio already earmarking the Greek international for a starting spot in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup third round tie against Peterborough.

Di Canio told the Echo: “Giaccherini is fit and, at the moment, it’s not a question (whether he’ll come back in). He needs to play.

“But we know with Mavrias, he’s played one game and he can come off the bench and do well, and then we have Tuesday.

“We have to be sensible because in this area we have two very good players and I’m happy for that.

“Giaccherini came off against Italy at half-time because he felt cramp.

“But there was a little, little strain and we couldn’t risk him against Arsenal. He tried running, but he didn’t even feel 30-40 per cent.

“But now he’s ready because he’s done everything since Monday.”

Mavrias only arrived on Wearside three weeks ago, yet Di Canio has already noticed the improvement in the 19-year-old, whose pre-season was limited due to an abdomen problem.

Di Canio was impressed by the £2.5million winger’s contribution against the Gunners and says the former Panathinaikos teenager is eager to maintain his progress.

“I’m very happy with Mavrias,” added Di Canio. “He’s a very good prospect.

“What I’ve seen from him in the last few days is the desire to keep going and keep working hard.

“Because he played against Arsenal and played well, he wants to improve. For the difficulty of the game, he did very well.

“He’s got plenty of energy; not only heart – which is crucial – but he’s got strong quads and a natural athleticism which we’ve seen develop over the last few weeks.

“He came here quite empty. You saw against MK Dons in his first game that he played one-twos and he didn’t get there.

“But against Arsenal, he ran off the ball for 70 minutes and on the ball, he was good too.

“In the second half, he passed the ball cleanly 30 yards for Jozy (Altidore) to ‘score’. That is not easy to provide the right touch, with calmness in the middle of the field.

“He’s a good prospect. I don’t want to exaggerate, but I’m very pleased.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland skipper John O’Shea, who served a one-match ban against Arsenal, is also fit to face the Baggies after shaking off the minor ankle injury sustained during Republic of Ireland duty.