Ord on Di Canio

by Ashley Houghton

Former star impressed with head coach.

Former Sunderland defender Dickie Ord has praised the influence of new head coach Paolo Di Canio as the Italian prepares for his first full season in charge of the Black Cats.

Ord, who played 283 times for the club in an 11-year stay, praised Di Canio’s ability to get results as the former Swindon boss ensured Sunderland’s top flight status for a sixth consecutive campaign.

“I think it was a bit of an impact decision from the club as nobody expected it,” Ord explained.

“To be fair to them it’s turned out great, there’s a buzz of excitement around as everybody hopes he can turn the club’s fortunes around.

“A club the size of Sunderland should be looking at the top 10.”

And as a Black Cats fan, as well as a former player, Ord was delighted with the Italian’s first win as Sunderland head coach when he masterminded a fine 3-0 away victory at rivals Newcastle United.

“People will never forget the Newcastle game,” he added. “The fans will always hold him in high regard for that.”

Ord feels this summer is vital to the club’s progression as Di Canio shapes his squad for the future.

“He’s got pre-season to start building his own team, which is when he can be judged properly – in fairness he’s done an excellent job so far.”