The Addicks boss was regarded by the Italian as one of his close friends during his playing days, but Powell believes that only time will tell when it comes to Di Canio's ability to save the Black Cats from relegation.
"The proof will be their remaining games," Sporting Life quotes Powell as saying. "He has done well so far in League One and Two with Swindon. Paolo was part of my club career, being a teammate of mine and I met him socially. Sunderland has made a bold decision."
Meanwhile, Di Canio has refused to be drawn on his alleged fascist views, which led to the resignation of Labour politician David Miliband from the Sunderland board.