Newcastle and Sunderland morning news: Di Canio defends methods, Toon want to re-sign star

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has defended the fitness regime he has implemented at the club, stating that it would see less rather than more injuries.

The Hartlepool Mail reported that Di Canio said: ‘The majority of the squad had just one day off training all summer but I think this is a good thing because in my view if you train hard, you have less, not more chance of injury.’

‘The simple fact is that if you train hard, you can press hard and run for the full 90 minutes.’

His training methods have come under criticism after a poor start to the season sees his side sit second bottom of the table at the international break.

Despite the poor start Di Canio has received backing from ex-team-mate Franco Baresi. The Journal reported that Baresi gave his full support to the Sunderland manager saying he had the ‘character’ and ‘passion to be a success in the Premier League.

He was talking ahead of Steve Harper’s testimonial at St James’ Park tomorrow night, both Baresi and Di Canio are expected to play some part.

Over on Tyneside Newcastle are keen to open talks with Hatem Ben Arfa over a new contract.

The Journal report that despite his contract not running out until 2015, they want to tie down Ben Arfa on a long-term deal.

Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley will feel that after a summer of inactivity re-signing Ben Arfa will be a big boost to the team and fans.

In a World Cup year Ben Arfa will be concentrating on cementing a place in France’s squad.

A Newcastle fan accused of punching a police horse after a loss to Sunderland has denied the charge of causing violent disorder.

The man was caught on video appearing to strike the horse after there was unrest from fans following a damaging defeat. He appeared in the magistrates yesterday.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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