Barclays Asia Trophy, while Keiren Westwood was given the nod for the final friendly encounter against FC Midtjylland last week.
But like Brown, fitness is Diakite's issue after playing just 20 minutes of Sunderland's pre season.
The French Bosman arrival must be the favourite, particularly after partnering O'Shea in Denmark last week, yet Cuellar has plenty of Premier League experience and that may be invaluable when attempting to contain a customer like Dimitar Berbatov.
And even if former Sunderland hero Darren Bent arrives in time to be registered for tomorrow's game, it would be a major shock if he was thrust into the starting XI after being forced to train with Villa's kids during the summer.
And it could well be crucial in picking up points during the formative days of the season.
On loan maverick Adel Taarabt is short on match fitness after being frozen out of QPR's pre season, while midfielder Derek Boateng is making his comeback after a year on the sidelines through injury.
perhaps Di Canio has been practising some kidology during pre season by ensuring the Republic of Ireland international avoids any complacency.
It is surely between Valentin Roberge and Carlos Cuellar to double up alongside O'Shea.
But Mannone has looked more than adequate competition in the friendly programme and the sight of either name on the team sheet tomorrow wouldn't necessarily be a surprise.
1 decision is an opening
With Craig Gardner serving the final game of the three match suspension earned at the tail end of last season, new boy Ondrej Celustka will surely be pitched straight into the side, with Jack Colback on the opposite flank.
Selecting the right candidate to replace Mignolet is a major decision for Di Canio and one he has been guarded about during pre season Vito Mannone starting both games in the Brooklyn Nets Hat
The only real dilemmas at all for the start of Di Canio's first full season in charge at the Stadium of Light are at the back.
As has been apparent throughout the bulk of Sunderland's pre season campaign, the majority of the Black Cats starting XI was pencilled in weeks ago by the head coach.
But the dilemma for Di Canio in the Premier League opener is who occupies the position in Sunderland's goal.
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A midfield quartet of Emanuele Giaccherini, Adam Johnson, Seb Larsson and Cabral has been consistent throughout pre season, as has an attacking partnership of Jozy Altidore and Stephane Sessegnon.
Such has been the wholesale overhaul of Sunderland's squad, the departure of Simon Mignolet has largely been brushed aside primarily because it has helped to finance the spending spree.
Di Canio faces a quandary at centre half though with Wes Brown absent.
Neither will the full back berths harbour any surprises.
Verdict: Home win
Sunderland's conditioning stood out decisively when facing their Premier League peers in the Barclays Asia Trophy, in Nike Cap With Silver Tick
Given a clear run, Di Canio would have favoured either Brown or Modibo Diakite to partner John O'Shea at the heart of his back four.
Fulham boss Martin Jol looks likely to be more cautious in introducing his summer signings.
Westwood was always expected to be the new Sunderland number one after Mignolet's departure and Nike Caps Tumblr
Yet Mignolet is a major loss.
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Sunderland certainly couldn't have prepared much better. But now is the acid test of whether those lung busting mornings on the training ground prove worthwhile.
Last season, the 11million keeper was undoubtedly the difference between Sunderland slipping into the Championship and surviving in the top flight, albeit with a slightly red faced conclusion to the campaign.
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It is that superior Nike Hat Grey fitness of Di Canio's side which may well prove the difference this weekend.
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