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Premiership survival the goal for promoted teams

London: Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool face a baptism of fire on their return to the Premier League and all three promoted clubs enter the new season with survival on their minds.

After a single-season absence, Championship winners Newcastle will have little time to find their feet as they travel to Manchester United on August 16, where they have not won in the league for almost 40 years.

Chris Hughton’s side look the best-equipped of the three Premier League new boys to survive this season, although the manager’s task has been made more difficult by the refusal of Mike Ashley, the club’s multi-millionaire owner, to spend significant amounts in the transfer market.

Hughton has been forced largely to look at loans or free transfers in strengthening his promotion-winning squad, with the one million pounds spent on former Nottingham Forest defender James Perch the single fee so far paid, while Dan Gosling and Sol Campbell arrived on free transfers.

Having featured in 16 of the previous 18 Premier League seasons, where they finished runner-up in 1996 and 1997, Newcastle carry far more heritage, prestige and with it expectation than the majority of clubs promoted to the top flight.

Long-term, Hughton is looking to repeat the top-five finishes Newcastle secured for three seasons running from 2002, but acknowledges that like all newly promoted clubs, the first aim is survival.

“With what this club has in terms of fan base and stadium, the top five has to be the aim, but it’s not going to happen overnight,” he said.

“Tactically we’ll have to be different to last season, and our home form will be vital. It’s normal to have mixed emotions going into the season, but I think the overriding one is that of excitement.”

Only once in Premier League history have all three promoted teams stayed up the following season, and if Newcastle’s opening fixture is a daunting one, West Brom, Championship runners-up in May, face a sustained spell of difficult games to start the campaign.

Their first four trips send them to champions Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United as they bid to cast-off their image as a yo-yo club after moving between the top two divisions seven times in the last eight years.

“I’m confident we’ve a good group of players,” boss Roberto Di Matteo insisted. “We’ve kept the core from last season and brought in quality to ensure we progress.

“We’ve kept the balance but we’ve strengthened because we needed to in stepping up a division.”

After being promoted via the Championship play-offs Blackpool, who finished sixth in the second tier, have to bridge a huge gulf to survive.

Unsurprisingly, they’ve being given little hope of survival, having been made short-priced favourites by the bookmakers to head straight back down as they approach their first season at this level since 1971.

Blackpool have been beset by problems since clinching promotion with a Wembley victory over Cardiff, and have had to switch their first scheduled home game against Wigan to give them extra time to increase capacity at Bloomfield Road to a modest 17,000.

Manager Ian Holloway has just 20 players to choose from at present after a frustrating summer, having been unsuccessful in his attempts to bring back Leicester City forward DJ Campbell, and Everton defender Seamus Coleman, who both played prominent roles on loan last season.

Holloway is yet to make a signing ahead of the new season and he said: “I need to bring people in because the squad’s nowhere near good enough but the window doesn’t help.”

Bureau Report
Their first four trips send them to champions Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United as they bid to cast-off their image as a yo-yo club after moving between the top two divisions seven times in the last eight years.

“I’m confident we’ve a good group of players,” boss Roberto Di Matteo insisted. “We’ve kept the core from last season and brought in quality to ensure we progress.

“We’ve kept the balance but we’ve strengthened because we needed to in stepping up a division.”

After being promoted via the Championship play-offs Blackpool, who finished sixth in the second tier, have to bridge a huge gulf to survive.

Unsurprisingly, they’ve being given little hope of survival, having been made short-priced favourites by the bookmakers to head straight back down as they approach their first season at this level since 1971.

Blackpool have been beset by problems since clinching promotion with a Wembley victory over Cardiff, and have had to switch their first scheduled home game against Wigan to give them extra time to increase capacity at Bloomfield Road to a modest 17,000.

Manager Ian Holloway has just 20 players to choose from at present after a frustrating summer, having been unsuccessful in his attempts to bring back Leicester City forward DJ Campbell, and Everton defender Seamus Coleman, who both played prominent roles on loan last season.

Holloway is yet to make a signing ahead of the new season and he said: “I need to bring people in because the squad’s nowhere near good enough but the window doesn’t help.”

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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