The midfielder was up for sale during the summer but failed to attract a buyer, so the Italian is now hoping the former captain can boost his team after a slow start to the season
Cattermole was expected to leave the Stadium of Light during the transfer window, but no move materialised so manager Di Canio is ready to call on him as he looks to lift his side off the bottom of the Premier League.
Sunderland are yet to pick up a top-flight victory this season and travel to fellow early-season strugglers West Brom on Saturday.
Di Canio has been disappointed with the performance of his midfield so far - and sees Cattermole as a player who can help them improve in that area.
"We all know what might have happened with Lee during the transfer window and that’s why he wasn’t really included in our plans," the Italian said.
"But, at the end of the day, when he doesn’t move, you don’t just stick him in a corner and say he’s not our player.
"It’s important you use the squad available to you if you can and to be fair to him, he has shown character.
"I am not prejudiced in this respect.
"Lee has shown real desire, he hasn’t just come back in to suffer, he has embraced it enthusiastically and that is important.
"If you are intelligent and you buy into it, you have a chance and now Lee has a chance."
Di Canio went on to confirm Cattermole would be included in his squad for Saturday's game at The Hawthorns, meaning he could make his first appearance since February.
"He will come with us and when I take the players with me to travel to the game, they go under the assumption that any one of them can play straight away," he added.