Championship

New Birmingham boss faces toughest challenge ever

Hughton

Following the announcement that Chris Hughton will become the new Birmingham City manager, there is an opportunity to reflect on the challenges ahead for the former Newcastle boss.

Hughton has clearly been given the job for one reason over any other. He achieved promotion to the Premier League straight away with Newcastle United following their relegation to the Championship two years ago.

This isn’t to say he will do it again though. In fact, he has set a precedent with his immediate success at Newcastle and Birmingham owners will be expecting the same.

It is perhaps a ‘get us promoted or your gone’ situation. This comes with plenty of pressure with an impatient board waiting to get the job done.

Birmingham Chairman Carson Yeung will see relegation as just a minor blip in his visions for the club and will want them to be back in the big time at the first time of asking.

Taking away the fact that Hughton has pressure on him to get the job done, there are other reasons why the new Blues boss has a tough job.

First of all, the Championship is arguably stronger than ever before with several teams expected to be in contention for promotion.

As well as Birmingham, fellow relegated teams Blackpool and West Ham will look to be there or there abouts.

Then there are Cardiff City, Burnley, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Reading and Watford amongst the teams that fell just short last year.

Middlesbrough, Leicester, Derby and Portsmouth will then be looking for better campaigns while newly promoted Southampton might look to ‘do a Norwich’.

Basically, it is an extremely competitive league and Birmingham have no right to bounce straight back. Throw in the fact that a few of their best players might leave and morale is low, there is a lot for Hughton to do.

Of course Hughton is a very good coach and had a good record at Newcastle, but to replicate this at St Andrews is biggest test of his managerial career to date.

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