The competition - 08/08/2002

I’ve got high hopes for this season, and that means automatic promotion. I thought that the club might move on a few of the players, but that hasn’t happened and we’re all the stronger for it. Danny Higginbotham, Chris Riggot and Malcolm Christie have all been linked with moves away from Pride Park. Not only are these players still here, but they are also a year older and year more experienced. The more experienced lads such as Mart Poom and Rav are also at the club, giving us undoubted quality and again, experience.

I’ve been asked where I see the competition coming from and really, the answer is all around us! The other two that dropped down with us will be strong. Ipswich are a very steady club, a lot of the players that got them to Europe are still with the club and they also know what this division is all about. Mickey Adams is an up and coming manager and although Leicester have lost one or two players, I’m sure they won’t be far away. Wolves were oh so close last year, and now they’re boosted by the signings of Ince and Irwin. These players haven’t signed to see out their days with a nice pay packet! They’ll want success and may provide the experience to take Wolves that one step further. Any team managed by Harry Redknapp will also do well and they’ve got a Chairman with ambition. The signing of Paul Merson speaks for itself! In addition both Palace and Millwall will look to push and usually one of the teams coming up from the year before does well, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Reading got a run going. That’s seven other teams battling for the two remaining spots!

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