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Trev-ing up for glory!

Birmingham boss Trevor Francis today leads his club into a clash against a team he believes will be battling the Blues all the way for promotion.

And a likely full-house St Andrews is hoping to see the confidence he's placed in his newly signed Premiership stars justified from the start.

Francis hopes to parade Steve Bruce, Paul Furlong, Barry Horne, Gary Ablett and Mike Newell as the Blues go for first blood against Dave Bassett's Crystal Palace.

Said Francis: "I expect both Palace and Sheffield United to be battling for promotion, along with Wolves, ourselves, QPR and Manchester City.

"We couldn't have a tougher start, because after Palace we meet United on Saturday, but if we get six points it will set us up for the season."

Francis admits his team was "three-quarters formed in my mind" several weeks ago, and he's delighted with the new signings.

He explained: "I decided when I first arrived that we needed experience, and I'm delighted with the way the money has gone around.

"I went the same way when I took over at QPR by signing Peter Reid and Nigel Spackman, who both did tremendous jobs for me. Then at Sheffield Wednesday I made my best-ever signing with Chris Waddle.

"The First Division is tougher than ever this season. I believe in a passing game, but we will have to know how to battle."

Francis, who was the darling of St Andrews as a teenager, admits he's under tremendous pressure. But he declared: "After three pounds 1million transfers and seven years in management, I'm used to it."

Four or five of the Birmingham playing staff could be on their way out. He said: "I've spent all the available transfer funds, and if I want to buy I've got to sell.

"There's one player I'm looking at and would love to bring in, but I've got to move some out first."
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Southon, Hugh
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 18, 1996
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