Ex-England bosses the big names in 2nd-tier league

Former England managers Sven-Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren

will be looking for instant promotion in the first full season with

their respective League Championship teams when they open their

campaigns Saturday.

Eriksson, who managed Lazio and Benfica before leading England

from 2001-06, will be under pressure to lead Leicester into the

Premier League after having spent more money than any other club in

the second-tier division.

McClaren, Eriksson’s replacement whose failure to lead England

to the 2008 European Championship cost him the job, took over as

Forest manager during the offseason follwing the departure of Billy


”We have never hidden what we want to do – we want to play

Premier League football as soon as possible.” Eriksson said ahead

of his team’s match at Coventry.

The Swede has engineered some impressive player moves during the

offseason. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, the son of star Manchester

United ‘keeper Peter Schmeichel, has signed for the team along with

former Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky.

Striker David Nugent, who scored 14 goals in a struggling

Portsmouth side last season, has also joined while midfielder

Michael Johnson has arrived on a season-long loan from Manchester


McClaren has similarly made some astute signings in recruiting

midfielders Andy Reid and Jonathan Greening. Both players have

plenty of Premier League experience and will be key figures for


Forest, the European Cup champions in 1979 and 1980, have been

absent from the Premier League since 1999.

”It is always important to get a good start,” McClaren said of

the first match, at home to Barnsley. ”Not getting the start that

is required puts the team under pressure.”

West Ham begins life back in the football league against Cardiff

on Sunday after having been relegated in May.

Sam Allardyce has taken over from Avram Grant as manager and has

also made some impressive singings, notably Kevin Nolan from

Newcastle. The 29-year-old Nolan scored 12 goals in the Premier

League for Newcastle last season from midfield.

Allardyce has so far managed to hold on to three players with

England experience – midfielder Scott Parker, striker Carlton Cole

and goalkeeper Robert Green – despite some interest from Premeir

League teams.

Also, promoted Brighton starts against Doncaster at its newly

opened 22,500-seat stadium, newcomer Southampton takes on Leeds at

St. Marys and Hull opens the season versus Blackpool.