Birmingham City led the Championship table for a long time before they were pipped at the end by Sunderland, and they will come into the Premiership with a lot of confidence.
Not every promoted club can pull a Wigan, West Ham or Reading and in the last two seasons the Premiership has gotten a lot more competitive, and it will be tough for Birmingham.
Steve Bruce is a good manager and Birmingham will be fighting every step of the way. While survival would be good enough you can’t ever go into a season ‘planning’ for survival and Birmingham will be gunning to cause a few upsets.
And with a string of home games against potential rivals early on, they have every chance of cementing their Premiership status.
Manager Status: Steve Bruce’s success in bringing Birmigham City back to the Premiership will see him get every chance to prove himself in the top flight. There may be some trouble if the club is taken over and if, as reported, the new owner meddles with team selection but as we’ve seen at Chelsea, managers have to deal with this sort of thing and Brucey will deal with it, no matter how much he threatens to quit.
Transfer Analysis: Birmingham have been busy reinforcing their squad and they’ve mostly brought in experience to help them survive in the Premiership.
Players to watch: Fabrice Muamba and Gary O’Connor, two players whose form could mean the difference between survival and relegation at the end of the season.
August Fixtures: Birmingham travel to Stamford Bridge for the season opener, before hosting Sunderland and West Ham and then an away game against Derby. While City are expected to lose against Chelsea, they have a great chance of stealing a march on their rivals by beating fellow promoted clubs and last season’s relegation-escapees. If they manage 9 points out of those 3 games you can only imagine what that would do for their confidence. Somehow, I don’t think either West Ham or Sunderland will lose though.
Expectations: With a few Premiership clubs struggling, Birmingham have a shot at survival and ideally Bruce will be looking at a mid-table finish (9-15th).
Predictions: Bottom of the table (16th-20th), although they’re not relegation favourites.