Jewell: Championship Tougher Than Ever
Saturday, 6th Aug 2011 08:32
Blues boss Paul Jewell says he expects a tough opening game at Bristol City this afternoon but would expect a similarly difficult afternoon wherever the Blues are playing in what he says is likely to be one of the tightest Championships for years.
Jewell said: I think it’s a tough place to go. If we’d have been playing Leicester, that’s tough, Doncaster’s tough. There are no easy games at this level.
“Bristol City have got some good players, they’ve got a player that Leicester have been enquired about and been quoted £6 million in Nicky Maynard, they’ve got an England goalkeeper. Whenever you look through the Championship, it’s littered with quality players.”
The Town manager says plenty of clubs will go into the season with the same aim: “There are a lot of teams in this division will be thinking they can get in the play-offs.
“I think the teams that have come down think they can because they’ve got the parachute money behind them.
“And the teams that have come up. Brighton have spent £3 million on a striker [Craig Mackail-Smith], Southampton have spent money in the transfer market and have good players and one [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] worth £10 million reputedly.
“So that’s five teams without really thinking about it, and then you’ve got Forest and Cardiff. It’s a tough league. I think we’ve all got to think we’ve got to get in that top six but we’re not all going to get there.”
The strength of the division is illustrated by the high profile of some of the managers with Sven-Göran Eriksson at Leicester and Steve McClaren with Nottingham Forest: “There are two ex-England managers in the Championship, which shows the quality of it.
"I guess that in years gone by you won’t have had two ex-England managers going down to the Championship. They know it’s a tough league and the rewards if you get out of it are great.
“Sven was at Notts County and now he’s at Leicester, so he obviously sees a way through because we all want to get in that Premier League.”
Jewell is clear on what he will see as an achievement for Town come May: “What is success this season? As long as we improve and progress, I think that’s the long-term aim, as I keep on stressing. We want to progress. Progression is success [for us] I think.
“Getting to the Premier League is the goal and if we get there as quickly as we can, great. If it takes an extra year or two, it’s worth the wait when you get there.”
Photo: Action Images
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