Testing times for play-off trio

27 July 2010 08:35
Nottingham Forest, Cardiff and Leicester have all experienced a summer of discontent Pipped to the Premiership post by Blackpool in the end of season shoot-out, the trio would normally be strongly fancied to go one step further this year and reach the top-flight but a number of issues mean they will go into the new campaign with plenty to prove. For the Reds, financially stable off the pitch, it is the lack of new signings on it that is causing concern to supporters and manager alike. Billy Davies has made it clear since the end of last season both that he feels his squad needs new additions and that, having made his recommendations to the club’s transfer panel, that the final say is out of his hands. Saturday’s friendly defeat at Peterborough and the lack of options open to Davies for that game prompted another public call from the Scot for incoming transfer business to be done. Davies told the Nottingham Evening Post: "Last season we were two or three pieces short of the jigsaw puzzle. I felt that would take us up to a certain level. "On top of that, I think we need to bring in three or four new faces. And, with you and me being good mathematicians, you can work out what that means. We need a few more players. I have put the names forwards, we will see what happens." There’s always someone worse off than yourselves however and Cardiff City fit that bill in the Championship at present. The Bluebirds financial woes looked to be over when a takeover of the club was agreed but they remain in debt and with a transfer embargo in place due to non-filing of accounts. That leaves manager Dave Jones (linked with Fulham) and star striker Michael Chopra as prime targets for the vultures with the new season just weeks away. At the Walkers Stadium meanwhile it is in the dug-out that the upheaval has taken place with Nigel Pearson failing to agree on a new contract and deciding instead to take the vacant job at Hull City. That has led to talk that owner Milan Mandaric is keen to sell-up but he insists that any potential new investor will alongside him. Paulo Sousa has succeeded Pearson with something to prove despite a decent season in charge of Swansea, where stylish football won plenty of plaudits but a lack of cutting edge cost the Swans their chance to take on Forest, Cardiff and the Foxes in the play-offs.