Football

Promoted sides prepare for Premier League

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Can Hull beat the drop?  (©GettyImages)
Can Hull beat the drop? (©GettyImages).

Every season the three sides promoted from the Championship to the top flight are automatically set as odds on favourites for relegation.

Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and Hull City are the three newcomers to the Premier League this season and all three sides have made fiery starts to their transfer spendings.

One question I want people thinking about, as we approach the new season, is, which promoted side is looking strongest?

Cardiff City

Cardiff finished their 2012-2013 championship campaign as champions with a total of 87 points, 8 points ahead of anyone else. They are now looking forward to Premiership football so they can be amongst the biggest clubs in the country.

The man that has got them there is none other than Malky Mackay. Since arriving in the Premier League, Mackay has been relaxed over his transfer funds.

Mackay spoke to the BBC on 23rd May after speculation had risen that his transfer funds had been decreased:

"Like everything it's fluid," said Mackay.

"There's certain targets we would like to go for but like anything we're in with a lot of other clubs into these targets as well.

"I'm working closely with our chief executive Alan [Whiteley] and TG [chairman Dato Chan Tien Ghee] in terms of the budget we have and where we can pitch those targets at,he added. 

Since speaking with the BBC, Mackay has signed three players, John Brayford from Derby County for £1.5 million (add ons may be included), Andreas Cornelius from FC Copenhagen for around £8 million, and for an undisclosed fee they signed Brentford keeper Simon Moore.

The latest rumour that surrounds Cardiff is a possible return of Celtic midfielder, Joe Ledley, a former fan favourite for the Blue Birds.

Cardiff have played two pre-season matches so far since becoming a Premier League side. 

They first played away at Forest Green Rovers on 24th July and came out 4-3 winners, before their latest match ended in a 1-1 draw away at Cheltenham Town.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace came fifth in the Championship last season which meant that they had to achieve promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs.

Palace had to overcome their arch rivals Brighton and Hove Albion in the semi finals of the competition, and came out overall winners with the first leg ending in a 0-0 home draw. Palace then went away to Brighton and completed the job with a 2-0 victory, before defeating Watford 1-0 at Wembley in the final, courtesy of an extra time penalty from Kevin Phillips. 

Manager Ian Holloway spoke to the BBC on how he thinks Palace will fair next season:

"It all starts now for me because the minute we kick off next season we're on a hiding to nothing," said Holloway.

"We've got to make sure we can compete and I want to stay there."

Since then, Holloway has made five signings totalling around £7.5 million. 

Dwight Gayle for £4.5 million from Peterborough is the most expensive of these, with Holloway also adding Jose Campana from Sevilla FC for £1.75 million and Stephen Dobbie from Brighton for £800,000, as well as Jerome Thomas from West Brom and Kevin Phillips from Blackpool on free transfers.

Palace's pre-season is well underway having played three fixtures already, winning two and losing just one. 

Their first match came against Dagenham and Redbridge away in which they came out 2-1 winners on Saturday 20th July.

On 23rd July, the Eagles were on their travels again as they played Gillingham coming out 3-0 winners before an away trip to to Crawley town a few days later where they ended up 3-0 losers.

Hull City

Hull finished second in the Championship last season, gaining promotion to the Premier League automatically.

A dramatic finish to their Championship campaign, meant they had to wait until the last day to see where their fate lay. 

Watford had to better Hull City's result in the final fixture and when Hull drew with Champions Cardiff 2-2, it was in Watford's hands. However they came up short, losing to Leeds United 2-1. 

Steve Bruce had this to say after their dramatic last day and on their promotion when talking to the BBC:

"I've been in the game a long time and I have never experienced anything like the last 10 or 15 minutes," said Bruce.

"It took guts for us; the players rolled their sleeves up and have put in a real shift.

"To win promotion without any strikers for three months is a remarkable testament to this squad. They might not be as naturally talented but they're a great bunch and they've got a huge desire which has took us where we wanted to be," he added. 

Since gaining promotion, Hull have signed eight players. 

Curtis Davies arrived from Birmingham for £2.5 million, Ahmed Elmohamady from Sunderland for £2 million, Yannick Sagbo from Evian for £1.5 million, and Alan McGregor from Besiktas for £1.5 million.

As well as these four players, Hull have brought in three on free transfers with one loan. Steve Harper from Newcastle, Maynor Figueroa from Wigan, George Boyd from Peterborough Utd and loan signing Danny Graham from Sunderland. 

Since starting pre-season Hull have played four matches, winning two, drawing two and losing one. 

Hull first played North Ferriby United, coming out 3-1 winners, before playing Sheffield Wednesday on July 20th, drawing 0-0

Another 0-0 draw followed when Hull played Braga on July 23rd, before a 2-1 loss to Birmingham on 27th July. 

Their most recent trip was to Peterborough where they came out 1-0 victors.

Summary 

All three of these teams have obviously got ability because it takes a lot to gain promotion from the Championship. Cardiff have spent the most money out of the three teams even though Hull have signed the most players. 

Cardiff have made one big signing this season, a relatively unproven Danish striker, Cornelius. I believe Cardiff have gambled on this player and I'm not sure how well he will do in the top flight of English football.

Crystal Palace's biggest signing is Dwight Gayle, a good striker at championship level and I struggle to believe whether he is ready for the Premiership. 

Hull have bought well in my opinion, they have bought players that are experienced in the top flight and have experienced promotion. Danny Graham on loan is a good signing in my opinion because he was signed for Swansea when they were in the same situation before a good season established the Swans in the top flight. 

Steve Bruce has the most experience in the top flight and knows how to survive in the league, having had spells with Wigan, Sunderland and Birmingham, so his wisdom could rub off on his players.

Even though Ian Holloway's Premier League experience was short lived it is fair to say that he and his Blackpool team gave an admirable effort to stay up but, sadly, that wasn't enough as they were relegated. 

Malky Mackay is a fairly young manager and this is his first managerial spell in the Premiership. I believe Mackay could cause a few surprises this season with his side as it's clear he is getting some good backing from his board. 

It's a difficult statement to make but, I think, Palace will be in the drop zone come the end of next season, Hull will have a fight on their hands but could upset the odds, Cardiff will be in a lot better shape going into the new season it seems, with the money they are spending and looking at how they were last season.

Cardiff will want to establish themselves in the Premier League next season so that their rivals, Swansea wont be the only Welsh team in the top flight.

 

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Topics:
Premier League
Hull City
Cardiff City
Crystal Palace
Football
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