FOR ANOTHER DELIVERY!
R’s in the battle for promotion
and, while he still has the squad to challenge, a poor start could see him axed
It’s a completely different story at Watford, though, after they came within 90 minutes of making the top flight last season.
A change in the rules meant the Hornets have been forced to alter their policy of bulk loans from overseas.
Instead Gianfranco Zola’s squad has been bolstered by 12 new permanent signings – including eight from Udinese and Granada, the clubs also owned by the Pozzo family.
Leeds manager Brian McDermott is happy with his side’s billing as promotion favourites as he looks to bring an end to their 10-year Premier League exile.
The Elland Road chief said: “We have to cope with high expectations.”
But it’s worrying times for Middlesbrough fans.
The cash-strapped Teessiders have slashed £4m from their annual wage bill and brought just two players in over the summer – midfielders Dean Whitehead and Jo Varga. There’s some more optimism at Barnsley, who are expecting big things from £250,000 Bayern Munich capture Dale Jennings, a Scouser who launched his career at Tranmere.
Huddersfield boss Mark Robins hopes to lose his “loan arranger” tag after securing James Vaughan on a permanent deal.
The borrowed Norwich striker rode to Town’s rescue last season, firing them to safety with 14 goals, and Robins will be hoping for more.
Dave Jones insists his Sheffield Wednesday troops are ready to hit the ground running. The Owls boss said: “The players have worked very hard in preseason and look sharp, fit and lean.”
Meanwhile, Doncaster’s new Irish investors have splashed out on veteran keeper Shay Given in a bid to prove wrong the critics who’ve tipped them for a swift return to League One. Things have been uncharacteristically calm FEE £2m Free Free Free £700,000 Free £1m £1m £1m £1m at Blackburn after last season’s chaos.
But boss Gary Bowyer’s bid for Aston Villa’s Barry Bannan has fallen through to leave them short of midfield options ahead of their opener with Derby on Sunday.
It’s a problem shared by Blackpool boss Paul Ince.
Derby and Nottingham Forest both expect to be in contention for the top six after a strong transfer window, while Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich should also be in the mix after bringing in Paul Anderson and David McGoldrick.
Chris Powell’s improving Charlton should steer clear of trouble, along with newcomers Bournemouth.
But we’re predicting a tough season ahead for new Millwall boss Steve Lomas and Yeovil chief Gary Johnson.
Oscar Garcia will try to pick up the pieces after Gus Poyet’s rather messy departure from Brighton.
But, on the evidence of their pre-season form, he has a lot to do to improve on last season’s success in reaching the play-offs.
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