A holiday to Dubai? No, it’s hard graft for Sunderland stars Sessegnon and Gardner

MARCHING ORDERS: Craig Gardner is sent off during the first half of the 1-1 draw against Stoke City after his challenge on Charlie Adam. Picture by FRANK REID
MARCHING ORDERS: Craig Gardner is sent off during the first half of the 1-1 draw against Stoke City after his challenge on Charlie Adam. Picture by FRANK REID

SIN-BINNED Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner are being worked harder than their team-mates on the training ground.

That is despite their 2012-13 campaign having been brought to a premature end.

The duo received red cards against Aston Villa and Stoke City respectively, earning them three-game bans which prevented them from being involved in the final few games of Sunderland’s season.

But far from being allowed to coast through to the end of the season, the duo are being made to focus on fitness and football regimes aimed at ensuring they come back better players next season.

“They work more than the others,” Paolo Di Canio said.

“Just because they can’t play, it’s still an occasion to build their strength and fitness – after all, in a week’s time, they will have a holiday.

“Although we think they are fantastic professionals, we don’t know whether they will have one month’s rest and come back for pre-season not strong enough to come through.

“So, now, if it’s possible they work harder than the others under me to give them a much better chance of coming back fitter and sharper.

“If you allow them to go on holiday after being sent off, you can imagine players trying to get a three-match ban!

“That’s the end of the world in my opinion.

“Players are going to try to tackle badly and then get two weeks off to go to Dubai?

“No, no, no.

“Even though we trust them, pro-action is better than reaction.”