The Italian is currently in the middle of overhauling a squad that only just retained their top-flight status, adding Swedish winger David Moberg Karlsson to his options on Wednesday.
Di Canio is pleased to have a home game to open the season - the Black Cats face Fulham on August 17 - but knows he has a lot to get through between now and that fixture if his side is to be more competitive.
Karlsson's signing made it seven new faces for Di Canio, but he is expected to add more players to a squad that became stretched after he took over from Martin O'Neill.
"I'm very excited and of course it's fantastic to start at home in front of our own fans," Di Canio said.
"But there is a lot of work to do between now and Fulham. There are many steps.
"We have to integrate the new players into the team, continue to build and develop our squad and complete our pre-season training.
"There is a lot of hard work but we are ready for it."