‘Scalp’ - Leeds United, Leicester City & Southampton fired warning from Bristol City boss
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Leeds United, Leicester City, and Southampton have all come down, and have changed their managers, in the hope of bouncing back immediately. The last time the Foxes were in the Championship, Pearson was in charge, but now he’ll be plotting their demise when his Robins face them this year.
The 59-year-old believes that the other 21 teams in the division will be hoping to get a result over them and that there is an expectation on them to return to the top flight of English football. Pearson knows the Championship well having managed most of his career in the division, and believes that this year we will see a more competitive league than last season, which saw Burnley run away with the title and Sheffield United finish second.
Appearing on BBC Radio Bristol, he said: “When you come down from the Premier League, one of the things you’ve got to be aware of is you are a scalp.
“We know they’ll have decent squads and there will be a level of expectation on them to bounce back.”
"I’m not suggesting they’re not able to do that, what I am suggesting is that this season there is a possibility that more sides will be able to take points off more clubs.
"What I mean by that is I can’t necessarily see a Burnley-Sheffield United situation where there was a quite bit of distance between us. Of course, it could happen but I think there are a lot of clubs that are expecting more from themselves this season."
Plymouth Argyle won League One and came up with Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday, who will have been glad to have got out of the third tier. Both Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday have had bigger glories in the past, and both have sizeable fanbases, which can translate into more money being made available by their owners through revenue.
Pearson, a former Owls player, said: "All three clubs that came up from League One potentially could have good seasons themselves. There are never any straightforward predictions.”
As for his club’s own ambitions, there is talk amongst the camp and the fan base, that a playoff push could be possible this season. Ten points separated them and sixth-placed Sunderland last year, and they closely matched some of the top teams, with Burnley manager Vincent Kompany reserving praise for how Bristol City played against them last season.
Bristol City went on long unbeaten runs last year but could not turn it into play-off chasing form, and at times came unstuck against the teams near the bottom of the table. In other games against the top sides, there would be times for example like against Sheffield United where they dominated, but had nothing to show for it after being done by a smash-and-grab, but there is a hope that this youthful team has learned from that now, and can be more clinical when having the chance to put games to bed.
Pearson said: "What you have to do yourselves is be self-aware of what you are. Our best opportunity for ourselves is to make sure when we go into games and I think we proved it many times even against top sides, we’re capable on our day of either beating or stretching the best sides all the way.
"Where we’ve sometimes come unstuck is in games where we would expect ourselves to either pick up all three points or get an ugly draw. Those sort of games at times we’ve not been able to pick up the number of points we should have done."