Cape Town - Leicester City winger Marc Albrighton insists there is no reason for
any of the promoted clubs to fear relegation from the Premier League.
For many years, the new arrivals in the top-flight were seen as whipping
boys destined for an immediate return to the second tier -- and, with a
few exceptions, most fared as badly as expected.
But there has been a distinct change in the attitudes of the teams who come up these days.
Emboldened by the £140 million cash injection that accompanies
promotion, they are spending more freely on the players capable of
delivering a knockout blow or two to the division's heavyweights.
Not since the 2007-08 season when Birmingham and Derby went straight
back down has more than one promoted club failed to survive in their
And just last term both Crystal Palace and Hull thrived after promotion,
with Hull qualifying for the Europa League after reaching the FA Cup
final and Palace earning widespread praise for a late-season surge that
carried them to a remarkable 11th place finish.
Leicester, back in the top-flight after a 10-year absence, have grand
ambitions under owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha -- the Thai billionaire
who has set boss Nigel Pearson a target of finishing in the top five
within five seasons.
Pearson led the Foxes to the Championship title with 102 points and he
has splashed out £8 million on Brighton striker Leonardo Ulloa, while
also bringing in Aston Villa's Albrighton, who thinks he knows the
secret to survival.
"Some teams struggle but there are others like Swansea who come up and
take the Premier League by storm and that's your inspiration,"
"Leicester won promotion as an attacking side and that will not change
but you will come up against sides who will keep the ball and you need
to keep your shape and maintain your concentration.
"You need to be picking up points against the teams in mid-table and in
the bottom half because not only are you gaining points yourself you're
taking them off your rivals."
Although QPR only secured promotion via a nerve-jangling play-off run
that culminated with Bobby Zamora's late winner against Derby at
Wembley, it is Harry Redknapp's team who look the best placed to beat
QPR's last appearance in the Premier League in 2012-13 ended miserably
as a series of high-profile players were signed on big wages from
overseas, creating a disastrous rift with their British team-mates once
it became clear their performances weren't matching the size of their
Redknapp and QPR's owner Tony Fernandes have focused on signing
home-based players this time, with veteran central defender Rio
Ferdinand and former Cardiff duo Steven Caulker and Jordon Mutch the
pick of the bunch.
"We are determined not to make those mistakes again," Redknapp said.
"We don't want people who are going to come here just for the money and
not be interested in the club. We want people who genuinely want to come
here and play and do well for us.
"You have to do your homework on people. If they are a t****r you find out don't you?"
Burnley's ability to last the pace in the automatic promotion race was
surprising to many given they started last season rated as relegation
But Clarets boss Sean Dyche is confident the strong team-spirit and
discipline which won promotion can make the difference again in their
first Premier League campaign since 2009-10.
It would help if new signings Steven Reid, Matt Taylor and Michael
Kightly bed in quickly, while Dyche needs Danny Ings to continue his
"It's no different to last season," Dyche said. "We were written off,
called the underdogs, sixth favourites for relegation, all the rest of
"But we're formulating a group. The group is powerful - I believe in it.
"We played some very good football and had some great times, so it can be done."