Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of the club's glorious giant-killing of Leeds at Wembley, and members of the team which secured its place in Wearside folklore will be presented on the pitch at the Stadium of Light on Monday evening before the Black Cats' crucial league clash with Stoke.
Di Canio, who has acquainted himself with the club's history since his arrival at the end of March, is well aware of the affection in which those men are still held in the city to this day, and he is hoping they can inspire the current crop, not just on Monday but in the future.
He said: "I always follow the tradition of every club. Here, I discovered in 1973 they were up against Leeds and the cup and it was a fantastic moment.
"When you know this moment, you feel the atmosphere around you and the club, and everybody is prepared for this moment to receive the heroes. You hope that one day you can be a part of this, to deliver something really important. We live for it.
"I hope also that this moment can be shared by my players and the fans together because they can deliver a positive energy.
"It can be an extra motivation for the fans and for my players especially to deliver something important, because one day they can be remembered for the rest of their lives at this club and in this area.
"I am really happy to know Sunday is the anniversary and on Monday night we will receive before the game all the heroes from 1973, and hopefully the same atmosphere and the same positive energy can remain in the stadium for my players.
"Now we are fighting to stay up, but one day I hope we can fight for something different."