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Libbra Lives in Dubai

Our chances this season

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Having reviewed the squads this season I think 6 clubs will realistically be battling for survival. Those being: Norwich, Swansea, Wigan, Blackburn, QPR and Wolves. I am reasonably pleased with our Summer signings but am worried about our central midfield and feel we are missing that experienced, quality leader in the middle of the park. I still feel we are short a couple of players and that we may end up buying in January. Really don''t want Ashton syndrome where we bring someone in too late to change things. Our team spirit is our main weapon, and I really have my fingers crossed that it will keep us up. But if I''m honest, I can see us, Wigan and Swansea going down at the end of the season if I look at the teams on paper.

Here''s hoping the Lamber effect can keep on working - I''ll be chuffed to bits if I''m proven wrong!

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Perspnally I can see Newcastle struggling this year, sold Nolan and not replaced him, sold Carroll and not really replaced him, look likely to sell Barton all on top of having a very average manger in charge. I also think if Everton make a slow start again they could be down there for a while.

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I dunno. Tiote, Coloccini, Barton (if he stays), Ba, Obertan. They''ve got some pretty handy players, but you are right about the manager. I expect Newcastle to finish in the bottom half along with possibly Everton (although they have lots of quality compared to us too).

Can''t wait ''til Saturday - that''ll be the right benchmark for us to draw our conlcusions against. I also like the fact that our team are largely unknown commodities at this level. Nobody, including them, has a clue whether they can cut it. My guess is, some will and some won''t.

I fancy Morrison, Holt, Hoolahan, Pilkington, Ruddy and Crofts to do well with Jackson also a possibility. The rest may struggle...

I also think that, because some will struggle, we would do well to retain some of the players we are looking to release (at least until we have more back-up). Players like Hughes and McDonald I mean.If we can''t have strength in depth, at least we could have depth. I feel that both of them have the potential to do ok if given the chance (i.e. if other players fail to perform). We don''t want to put all of our eggs in one basket!

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[quote user="Libbra Lives in Dubai"]

I fancy Morrison, Holt, Hoolahan, Pilkington, Ruddy and Crofts to do well with Jackson also a possibility. The rest may struggle...[/quote]It doesn''t look promising for our defence.I think Johnson will be lively and do well in the middle and our fullbacks will have to be at their best. Tierney was solid last year but might have to be even more ''no-nonsense''. We''ve certainly a variation of strikers and attacking options so it''ll be a case of whoever''s on form will be in the team. I believe they''re all good enough. Take your chances boys.

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Down the bottom:

Bolton, West Brom, Wigan, Blackburn, Wolves, NCFC, QPR, Swansea.

Potentially down there too:

Fulham, Stoke, Newcastle

Unlikely:

Everton, Aston Villa, Sunderland

Nowhere Near:

Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool

I think at least 1 of the 3 promoted teams, probably 2, and then pick any from the other 5 to complete the unlucky trio.

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I think De Laet will ne good this year, and also the fullbacks will do well. I am actually not too worried about the defence, although it was a pre season friendly we looked pretty solid against a couple of handy players including an Italy international.

I think the Wigan game is the biggest pointer, and I look forward to it, let''s hope it''s on.

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Survival depends on many things

-injuries/suspensions for us and other lower table teams, also for upper table teams when they play us and our rivals for the drop.

- the frame of mind, physical tiredness of sides when we and others meet them.

It could go down to the wire, and even a good start may falter - Blackpool seemed the wonder team earlier on last season, but somehow managed to drop!

In our favour is momentum and commitment, including the" never give up until the final whistle" attitude. Will this continue when it happens, as it will, that we lose two or more consecutive games.

Clearly the manager''s ability to motivate will be vital, as will his team selection, strategy and timing of substitutions.

Also vital will be greater concentration - by goalkeeper and defence, but also by strikers converting more chances to goals, for Holt to blaze fewer over the top and Jackson not to freeze in one-on-one situations.

On paper you would have to worry at individual quality compared with other teams, although we have one or two potential match winners in Hooly, PIlkington and Bennett. I also worry that although PL has kept some spending back for January, if it becomes necessary, the problem is that January is almost too late for any new signings to make an impact.

We need a fair wind, some luck. Otherwise I fear that we may be back in the Championship.

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