Early Doors

Premier League preview 13th-16th

Early Doors

FULHAM

Manager: Martin Jol.

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2010-11 season: Fulham were never going to replicate the high of reaching the Europa League final in 2010 but enjoyed what appeared to be a season of stability and consolidation under Mark Hughes before his shock decision to quit the club at the start of June.

Strengths: Fulham have a diverse and strong midfield that provides excellent support to a central striker in Bobby Zamora who was deemed to be international class last season. They are a stable club and boast plenty of Premier League experience.

Weaknesses: Apart from the distraction provided by the Michael Jackson statue? Fulham are not big hitters in the transfer market and rely on key players remaining fit. They have also had to contend with their season starting in June due to Europa League commitments and Jol is concerned their league form will suffer as a result.

Key man: Clint Dempsey. The American has been exceptional over the past two seasons for Fulham and in 2010-11 scored a career high 12 league goals as he attracted the attention of bigger sides. Whether playing out wide or in behind a striker, Dempsey is a constant menace to opposition teams.

Ins: Dan Burn (Darlington, undisclosed); Csaba Somogyi (Rakospalotai EAC, undisclosed); John Arne Riise (Roma, undisclosed); Marcel Gecov (Slovan Liberec, undisclosed); Pajtim Kasami (Palermo, undisclosed).

Outs: Zoltan Gera (West Brom, free); Diomansy Kamara (released); John Pantsil (Leicester City, free); Eddie Johnson (released); Matthew Saunders (released); David Stockdale (Ipswich, loan); Jonathan Greening (Nottingham Forest, undiclosed); Danny Hoesen (Fortuna Sittard, loan); Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace, undisclosed).

Prediction: 13th.

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BOLTON WANDERERS

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Manager: Owen Coyle.

2010-11 season: Coyle's first full season at The Reebok Stadium started well enough as the Wanderers rose as high as fourth after 14 games, but a poor run of form, with seven defeats in nine, saw them slump to 14th by the end of the campaign. Bolton also suffered acute disappointment in the FA Cup when losing 5-0 to Stoke City in the semi-final at Wembley.

Strengths: Kevin Davies is the epitome of a big target man and does his job impeccably, fighting for every ball and playing in his team-mates to good effect. Bolton's approach is well-honed and effective and Coyle is a popular man at the helm. Key defender Gary Cahill also remains at the club, for now.

Weaknesses: The return of loan star Daniel Sturridge to Chelsea has deprived Bolton of a major asset in attack and their options have been further hit by the news that Lee Chung-Yong has suffered a serious leg break and will miss the season. New signing Tyrone Mears has also broken his leg in training.

Key man: Kevin Davies. Lone striker, captain and inspiration, Davies demonstrated his worth to the side last season when starting all 38 of Bolton's league games. His form was also recognised at international level when making his England debut last October.

Ins: Darren Pratley (Swansea, undisclosed); Nigel Reo-Coker (Aston Villa, free); Chris Eagles, Tyrone Mears (Burnley, £3m joint fee).

Outs: Matt Taylor (West Ham, undisclosed); Johan Elmander (Galatasaray, free); Jlloyd Samuel (released); Joey O'Brien (released); Tamir Cohen (released); Sam Sheridan (released); Maison McGeechan (released); Tom Eckersley (released); Ali Al Habsi (Wigan, £4 million); Andrew Burns (Bradford City, free); Daniel Ward (Huddersfield, undisclosed).

Prediction: 14th.

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WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

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Manager: Mick McCarthy.

2010-11 season: Despite losing on the final day of the season, Wolves avoided relegation by a point as Birmingham and Blackpool also slipped to defeats. McCarthy's men secured famous victories over Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United and saw Matt Jarvis become the first player from the club to earn an England call-up in 20 years.

Strengths: McCarthy extracts every ounce of effort from his players and they have very well-defined roles in his system. In Kevin Doyle Wolves possess one of the league's best lone strikers and the additions of Roger Johnson from Birmingham and Jamie O'Hara on a permanent deal from Tottenham ensure the team has a more robust spine for the coming season.

Weaknesses: Wolves are a bit short of invention in the centre of midfield and can struggle to break teams down as a result. Their squad is also a touch lightweight and could be exposed by a run of injuries.

Key man: Matt Jarvis. The winger earned an England cap in a 1-1 draw with Ghana in March as Fabio Capello rewarded him for a fantastic season on the left wing. A good crosser of the ball and a constant danger, Jarvis scored four goals and claimed ten assists for Wolves last season.

Ins: Jamie O'Hara (Tottenham, £5m); Dorus de Vries (Swansea, free); Roger Johnson (Birmingham City, £7m).

Outs: Carl Ikeme (Middlesbrough, month-long loan); Jody Craddock (released); Adriano Basso (released); John Dunleavy (released); Marcus Hahnemann (released); David Jones (released); Nathan Rooney (released); Steven Mouyokolo (Sochaux, season-long loan); Greg Halford (Portsmouth, undisclosed); Danny Batth (Sheffield Wednesday, loan); Scott Malone (Bournemouth, loan).

Prediction: 15th.

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WIGAN ATHLETIC

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Manager: Roberto Martinez.

2010-11 season: Wigan flirted heavily with relegation last season but finished three points clear of the bottom three after losing just one of their final five games. Martinez's admirable adherence to his attacking principles often resulted in the Latics looking very vulnerable at the back.

Strengths: Owner Dave Whelan was delighted when Martinez turned down the chance to replace Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa and his decision ensures consistency at a club that have enjoyed six unbroken years in the top flight. Martinez is also an asset due to his knowledge of the Spanish transfer market.

Weaknesses: Goals, or rather a lack of them. Only Birmingham scored fewer than Wigan's 40 last season and the loss of Charles N'Zogbia to Aston Villa cuts off a vital supply line for Hugo Rodallega. N'Zogbia's sale also underlined that the club are powerless to hold onto their best players.

Key man: Hugo Rodallega. The Colombian acts as Wigan's lone striker and is therefore crucial, with his ability to hold up the ball, as well as get on the end of moves, absolutely essential for the team's hopes. Rodallega scored just nine goals last season and needs to improve on his strike-rate.

Ins: Ali Al Habsi (Bolton, £4 million); David Jones (Unattached, free).

Outs: Charles N'Zogbia (Aston Villa, £9.5m); Antonio Amaya, (Real Betis, undisclosed); Jason Koumas (released); Steven Caldwell (Birmingham, free); Daniel De Ridder (released); Joseph Holt (released); Thomas Lambert (released); Thomas Oakes (released); Abian Serrano Davila (released).

Prediction: 16th.

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