Jewell relishing Championship challenges ahead

PAUL Jewell is predicting this season’s race to the Premier League will be among the toughest on record.

But the Ipswich Town boss has backed the Blues as he prepares to lock horns with ex-England managers Sven Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren this coming season.

Add in old foe Sam Allardyce and recent Championship title-winning manager Chris Hughton, among others, and it is clear that achieving promotion will be a massive challenge for Town, who start their season today at Bristol City (3pm ko).

The Town boss said: “Wherever you look in the Championship, it is littered with quality players. There are two ex-England managers in there which just shows the quality of it. In years gone by, you wouldn’t get two ex-England managers going down to the Championship, but they know its a tough league but the rewards are obviously great.”

While some of Jewell’s shrewd acquisitions have caught the eye, they have been financially blown out the water by the likes of Leicester City and West Ham.

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And Jewell also tipped Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and new boys Brighton and Southampton to go close.

“We all want to get in that Premier League,” said Jewell. “We have a chance but there are probably 15 or 16 teams who think they have a chance of getting in the top six.

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“With the league we are in now, Leicester have bid �7 million pounds for a striker (Shane Long) which shows you the level of competition we are up against.

“It is a tough league. This year it is extra tough. I think we are improving but it is not going to happen overnight. Our goal is to get into the Premier League – that is my goal, that is the owner’s goal.”

- Keep checking this website today for a full match preview, Michael Chopra on his record against the Robins and then the best match coverage from Ashton Gate including team news and reports at half time and full time.

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