Sunderland's Steven Fletcher will not be rushed back by Paolo Di Canio

• Injured Scotland striker champing at the bit
• Panathinaikos winger Charis Mavrias signed for £2.5m

Paolo Di Canio has resisted the temptation to rush Steven Fletcher back into Sunderland's first team and will wait until he is certain the Scotland international striker is in no danger of breaking down before selecting him.

In a world where managers frequently gamble on players' fitness it is a sensible policy but one with which Fletcher, who has spent the last few months sidelined by a serious ankle injury, does not entirely agree.

"If it depends on Steven, he can play now," said Di Canio who has never been able to field his club's most dangerous forward. "He says 'I can score; I can score; every game I can score now'.

"I can understand him but we have to be sensible, we have to be intelligent. In my opinion it's better to take another week after a few months out. Too accelerate him too much now would be very, very stupid. I tell him it's for you, it's for us."

In recent seasons several Sunderland players have made swift returns from bad injuries only to suffer major setbacks, but Di Canio is expected to wait until after next month's international break before allowing Fletcher his head.

He is confident Martin O'Neill's £12m signing from Wolves last summer will be worth waiting for. "It's very important he's right," he said. "The net is there. He can see the net. That's very important otherwise we don't win many games.

"I'm very happy. The staff are very happy. He will finally join the group in the next few days and start training. Not full sessions, but practice with the team when we have technical and tactical moments. He can speak with his team-mates again; sometimes we have seen him from 50 yards away."

Meanwhile, Di Canio completed his 11th signing of the summer on Thursday in the shape of the 19-year-old Greek international winger Charis Mavrias for £2.5m from Panathinaikos.

"He's young – a prospect and a talent," said Di Canio, whose side travel to Southampton on Saturday. "He's full of energy and he has good quality. I'm very happy because he is more mature than his age. He is a guy whose enthusiasm is infectious – he has a good future.

"We have five wingers now. There is an international break coming but we will play three games in a week and we will use all of these players. We want to be protagonists in the Cup and the league. It's not easy but with more quality comes more desire for places and I will try to rotate my players."

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