Paolo's Potters preview

by Stuart Vose

Boss on fans, focus and ‘confident’ Stoke.

Paolo Di Canio says the red and white army can roar Sunderland over the line under the floodlights on Monday night.

The Black Cats take on Stoke City and a victory would see them move level with the Potters on 40 points.

Sunderland will be without the suspended Stephane Sessegnon and injured top scorer Steven Fletcher, but Di Canio is far from deterred and says the crowd can be a big help.

“We are capable of scoring goals with the players we have, in a different manner and with different qualities,” he explained.

“The fact we are playing at home is something really important. We saw the difference at Villa Park – the atmosphere probably helped a lot with the players.

“They were there with the second balls, on the rebounds and gave everything to try to put us in difficulty, which they did.”

Meanwhile, opponents Stoke have pulled themselves away from the relegation places with back-to-back victories against QPR and Norwich.

Di Canio believes Tony Pulis’ side will have a new-found confidence and claims their recent points haul has left them all but safe.

“Stoke will be confident. They have had two good results, like us in some ways – two wins in a row, six points after a bad run.

“They are already in a good position, to be honest, with 40 points and a good goal difference.

“But we have to think about us.”