PAOLO DI CANIO has revealed one of the first well-wishers in his new job at Sunderland was rival boss Alan Pardew - but not in the derby game.
And the Italian said he sent a message of thanks back but also acknowledged there would be no quarter taken or given when the two sides meet this Sunday.
“Alan Pardew sent me a letter already this week, to wish me the best of luck for the future – apart from in the derby, of course!” Di Canio said.
“My answer was very gentle, but the last line about the derby was very similar to his!
“Alan Pardew is a passionate man. I like him, we don’t have to fight.
“We saw him celebrate with the fans when Newcastle scored a late winner in the last game against Fulham at the weekend.
“When I used to do this in League Two at Swindon, people said: ‘he can’t do this; he’s mad’.
“But why can’t I, or Alan Pardew, celebrate a goal?
“As long as you don’t do anything against the other team, it’s fine.”
SEE Thursday’s Mail for full story and more Sunderland news