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Team Sorted

Relegated Stars ready to make a swift return to the Premiership?


Matthew Hernon

Matthew is a part-time freelance football journalist working in Japan....
[full biography]
22/05/2007 09:00:00.
read: 1336 times.

Players like Phil Jagielka, Darren Bent and Danny Shittu did all they could to keep their sides in the Premiership last season, but now it remains to be seen whether they will be there to help them win their top flight status back. Here’s a look at the players who could be leaving Sheffield United, Charlton and Watford this summer.

Sheffield United have already seen their biggest name at the club depart. Stepping in to Neil Warnock’s shoes is not going to be easy. Whoever is brave enough to take up the challenge, is also likely to have a fight on his hand to keep hold of the best players. From press reports that man is likely to be Bryan Robson who has experienced promotion to and relegation from the top in his times at Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion.

Phil Jagielka insisted he would stay even if the team were relegated, but Warnock’s shock exit might have changed his mind. His recent call-up to the B squad may also have convinced him that the Premiership is the place to be. Teams like Aston Villa, Everton, Man City and Newcastle would certainly benefit from having such a consistent and versatile performer.

Another player who impressed in his first season in the top flight was Michael Tonge and he knows that any chance of joining Jagielka in the international set-up would mean moving away from Bramall Lane. Wigan are believed to have shown interest, while Sunderland are reportedly after Goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.

Charlton are likely to lose a number of players in the summer, most notably Darren Bent. The striker, who bagged 15 goals during the last campaign, has been linked to at least half the teams in the Premiership, including the ‘big four’.

Alan Pardew seems resigned to the fact that he is leaving, admitting that it ‘will be a financial decision, not a football one.’ With Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink having already been released, the manager was lining potential replacements as relegation approached and signed Luke Varney and Chris Iwelumo on Monday (21 May); Freddie Eastwood is also rumoured to be a target.

The manager might also have to be on the lookout for a new winger and right-back. Recent reports suggest Martin O’Neill is ready to make a bid for Luke Young, while Dennis Rommendahl admitted in the daily Mirror that he had decided to play ‘…somewhere else a long time ago’. Out of contract, Herman Hreidarsson is also considering his options.

Watford are unlikely to lose as many players as the other two relegated sides and received a massive boost last week with the Marlon King and Alhassan Bangura, signing new contracts with the club.

King’s injury last season was a major blow to Aidy Boothroyd‘s plans. He will be hoping that his main marksman can rediscover the kind of form he showed in the 2005/06 season, where he finished top scorer in the championship. 19yr old Bangura meanwhile, is considered as one of the brightest prospects at the club.

One player who has suggested he might want a move away from Vicarage Road is Danny Shittu. The big defender has been one of Watford’s most consistent performers over the past year and he told the independent that he ‘…would like to stay in the Premiership’, which should alert a host of top flight managers. Hameur Bouazza is another player who could make an immediate return.

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