ALAN Pardew believes the Premier League’s three new boys will improve the top flight next season.
And if anyone should know about the qualities of the promoted trio it’s the Newcastle United boss given he’s managed all three.
The Magpies will face Southampton, Reading and West Ham United after their promotion from the Championship, replacing relegated sides Wolves, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers.
Newcastle fared well against the three teams who dropped out of the division, picking up 16 points from a possible 18, with only the home draw against Wolves when they threw away a two-goal lead spoiling their record.
And Pardew admits his side will have their work cut out to replicate that form against their replacements.
“We’ve got a tougher year next year,” he said.
“I think the three teams who have come up are going to be strong, and obviously we’ve lost the three weakest who we took 16 points off last season.
“That’s 16 points we’ve got to gain elsewhere, and that won’t be easy.”
Pardew began his managerial career at Reading, steering them to promotion to the Championship and then to the play-offs, before he quit in acrimonious circumstances to take over at West Ham.
He guided the Hammers back to the Premier League and then an FA Cup Final, before being sacked, and ended up at Charlton before a spell at Southampton, where he won the Johnstone Paint Trophy before controversially being dismissed.
And he is relishing returning to his former clubs when the new season starts - and hopes to get a good reception from the opposition fans.
“I will be looking forward to going back to each one, and it will be all pleasure,” he said.
“Sometimes Reading fans still give me a hard time over the way I left, but the other two sets of fans I’m hoping to get a nice welcome from.
“I look forward to that, and hopefully the Reading fans have started to appreciate what I did there, rather than how it ended.”