Friday media watch [26.04.13 AM]: Lambert on Di Canio
Daily Mirror: Paul Lambert insists it is too early to call Paolo Di Canio a success and reckons his Sunderland side could still go down. Manager Di Canio has galvanised the Wearsiders since taking charge, with two wins out of three. Now the buzzing Black Cats head to Aston Villa on Monday. But the Scot knows victory would put Villa level on points with Di Canio's men.
Daily Star: Paul Lambert says he won't be getting caught up in Paolo Di Canio mania. Aston Villa boss Lambert wants his team to do the talking in the crucial relegation dogfight with Sunderland. Di Canio's crazy antics have whipped up a frenzy at the Stadium of Light as he plots a dramatic escape for the Black Cats. Back-to-back victories have pulled them clear and a win at Villa Park on Monday night would put them close to safety. But Lambert is refusing to get sidetracked by all the fuss surrounding the flamboyant Italian.
The Sun: Paul Lambert admits Paolo Di Canio could be in for a red-hot reception on Monday - after taunting Villa fans when he was manager of Swindon. Di Canio, who takes his Sunderland side to Villa Park, appeared to mock them after Swindon's 3-2 Capital One Cup defeat in October. And Villa boss Lambo said: "Will it come back to bite him on the bum? We'll have to see. But as an opposition manager you expect a bit of stick."
Daily Mail: Paul Lambert has warned Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio that Aston Villa have not forgotten how he taunted them earlier this season. The Italian made a "going down" gesture to Villa fans while he was Swindon boss. Lambert, whose side face Sunderland on Monday, said: "It didn't wind me up to but I'm sure our crowd will be right behind us, driving us on."
Daily Express: Paolo Di Canio could be in for a rough reception when he takes his Sunderland revival to Villa Park. Di Canio baited Aston Villa supporters when he was Swindon manager after the Premier League side scraped home 3-2 in the Capital One Cup at the County Ground six months ago. Di Canio went on to the pitch and pointed downward at the Villa fans, seemingly implying they would be relegated. He later claimed he was only saying the Villa fans were second best to Swindon's on the night. But it will fan the fires when he takes his new club to Villa on Monday.
Express & Star: Boss Paul Lambert today warned new Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio he will run the Villa Park gauntlet. The fiery Italian angered Aston Villa fans while Swindon boss after mocking them and signalling they were going down after Villa's 3-2 Capital One Cup win in October. He quit the Robins in February and was appointed as Martin O'Neill's replacement at the Stadium of Light earlier this month. Di Canio has guided the Black Cats to two wins from his first three games and, ahead of Monday's crunch relegation battle, Lambert is sure the Villa faithful have not forgotten his taunts.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert has saluted the "synergy" between the Villa Park faithful and his relegation battlers as they attempt to give Villa a significant shove over the safety line on Monday. Ahead of the crunch survival clash against Sunderland, Lambert insists the close bond between players and supporters has been a defining feature of Villa's season. Speaking surprisingly expansively on the subject, Lambert emphasised how important the positive backing of the crowd at home and away has been to his developing team.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert is ready for another manic Monday after admitting Villa must cope with the whims of the television schedulers. For the second week running the claret and blues will play after relegation rivals Wigan, Newcastle, Stoke, Norwich, Reading and QPR. By the time they kick off against fellow strugglers Sunderland at 8pm at Villa Park on Monday evening they will know the results of their foes. Villa's match has been put back for live television coverage but Lambert - who is predicting plenty of twists and turns - does not believe playing later puts Villa at an advantage or a disadvantage.
Sky Sports: Sunderland midfielder David Vaughan is confident victory over Aston Villa on Monday night will secure another season of Premier League football for the Black Cats. Back-to-back wins under new manager Paolo Di Canio have lifted the Wearside outfit to six points clear of the relegation zone, although Wigan have a game in hand on the cluster of teams above them. And Vaughan, who scored a stunning goal in the memorable 3-0 derby victory over Newcastle at St James' Park, feels another three-point haul against 17th-placed Villa will be enough to ensure that the relegation fears which led to Martin O'Neill's departure can be banished.
Snap up match tickets for the Sunderland game.