Transfer news: Paolo Di Canio refuses to discuss future of Lee Cattermole

The midfielder is not on the club's pre-season tour

Lee Cattermole's future at Sunderland remains uncertain after manager Paolo Di Canio declined to reveal whether the midfielder has a part to play this season.

The 25-year-old, who captained the Black Cats under Steve Bruce and Martin O'Neill, is not in Hong Kong, where his team-mates will face Manchester City in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy tomorrow, as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Summer signing Cabral wore Cattermole's number 6 shirt in Wednesday's 3-1 victory over Tottenham amid speculation that the former Middlesbrough and Wigan man is surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light.

Di Canio told the Sunderland Echo: "He couldn't come [to Hong Kong] because he was not fully fit, in the opinion of both myself and the fitness coach.

"He is training with the reserves and then when we get back to Sunderland, he will be ready."

However, asked if the £6million signing had a future with the club, the Italian replied: "We will see. It depends."

Di Canio has already radically overhauled the squad he inherited from O'Neill having made nine new signings with more potentially on the way.

Simon Mignolet, Titus Bramble, Matt Kilgallon and Ahmed Elmohamady have left the club with Phil Bardsley and David Vaughan among those likely to follow.

There has been speculation that Alfred N'Diaye could also return to Turkey, and it remains to be seen if Cattermole, who has been training with the Under-21s, will be another to move on.

Like the midfielder, striker Steven Fletcher is working his way back to full fitness after undergoing ankle surgery in April.

The Scotland international was Sunderland's top scorer last season with 11 goals despite having to sit out the final eight games of the campaign, and is yet to play under his new manager.

Di Canio is not putting any timescale on his comeback.

The 45-year-old said: "He is improving, he has improved a lot. We can't say how much longer it will take, but there is a big improvement and we know all about the problem.

"We are very happy with his progress and we are waiting for him."

PA

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