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Poyet warns Albion face a tough challenge
Albion boss Gus Poyet has warned of the multiple challenges facing his team in the Championship again next season.
But he still wants to improve on last year's play-off push and tenth-placed finish.
Albion kick-off their league campaign on August 18 with a long journey to Steve Bruce’s Hull City.
The first game at The Amex is three days later against Cardiff, who reached the play-offs last season.
The relentless tests are encapsulated by a tough week in late October, when a visit from Middlesbrough is followed by a midweek trip to Leicester and another away game at Blackpool.
Poyet said: “The biggest problem with the league is too many teams playing for the same thing (promotion). If you ask who will win the Premier League it’s not very difficult, between four teams.
“How many can win the league in the Championship? It’s unbelievable, ten or 12 different teams, which is unique.
“The three teams coming down (Blackburn, Bolton and Wolves) have got a good chance.
“Of the three coming up you have the history of Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton and Huddersfield have been one of the biggest spenders in League One for the last three years. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are pushing, so that is five or six clubs straight away.
“Then you talk about the ones that didn’t go up and the ones expected to do better – Blackpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester, Ipswich, Middlesbrough, Hull – it becomes crazy.
“There is no other league like it. We need just to try to compete with that and we will do our best.
“We need to improve on last year. If we finish ninth we’ll have done that but it would be better to finish closer to the top six.
“The idea is to get better. I’m realistic but at the same time I’m positive, because last year we came very close.”
Full fixture list for the 2012-13 season in The Argus today