GET READY ROYAL
Reading can kick Harry’s
1 Reading 5 Derby 6 Leeds 7 Ipswich 8 Blackburn 9 Wigan 10 Brighton 11 Watford 12 Burnley 13 Charlton 14 Bournemouth 15 Birmingham 16 Leicester 17 Middlesbrough 18 Doncaster 19 Barnsley 20 Blackpool 21 Sheff Wed 22 Huddersfield 23 Millwall 24 Yeovil ROY’S THE BOY: Royston Drenthe can make the difference for Reading, while Scott Carson
will be between the sticks for fellow
promotion hopefuls Wigan HARRY REDKNAPP knew the hard work was only just starting when QPR finished rock-bottom of the Premier League last season.
A bloated squad of overpaid underachievers needed a huge overhaul.
Some of the big names have gone, but misfits Joey Barton and Adel Taarabt are still on the books, while Julio Cesar and Loic Remy are also destined to leave.
Now Redknapp is going back to basics.
“I want players willing to go the extra mile, players who arrive each morning and talk about the game,” said the R’s boss.
“I got fed up with some of them believing Real Madrid or Barcelona wanted them.
“I haven’t had a call from either club.”
The arrival of Richard Dunne and Karl Henry has helped make Rangers favourites to go straight back up. But the two other sides relegated from the top flight have made the more eye-catching signings – and I reckon Reading will be the ones to beat.
Royals owner Anton Zingarevich has flexed his financial muscles to bankroll the arrival of former Real Madrid midfielder Royston Drenthe.
And, with ex-England man Wayne Bridge also on the books, boss Nigel Adkins looks to have that extra bit of class that will see him celebrating next May.
New Wigan boss Owen Coyle raised a few eyebrows by landing Norwich hitman Grant Holt for £2m – the biggest fee paid out in the Championship this summer.
Holt is just one of eight new signings, including England keeper Scott Carson who arrived in a £700,000 move from Turkish outfit Bursaspor.
Bolton are also expected to be in the play-off mix after narrowly missing out on the final day last season. But boss Dougie Freedman wants more names added before the transfer window shuts or he knows his promotion dream could be dashed.
The Trotters boss has added £1m striker Jermaine Beckford to his ranks along with freebie defenders Alex Baptiste and Marc Tierney.
The Scot wants three more additions before September 2 but must make do with what he has got ahead of this weekend’s opener against Burnley.
The Clarets will have Charlie Austin in their ranks after his failed medical at Hull earlier this summer, but it remains to be seen if the bricklayer turned striker will cement a move elsewhere before the end of August.
Expectations at play-off semi-finalists Leicester have been dampened after their Thai owners tightened the purse strings.
Nigel Pearson has only signed Zoumana Bakayogo from Tranmere on a free
FUTURE: Charlie Austin
is still at Burnley – but for how long?