The Albion midfielder is optimisitc going into the new season.
Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Steve Sidwell is expecting an even tougher test in the Championship this season, but insists the squad are more than capable of mounting another promotion challenge.
The midfielder admitted the frustration of failing to get to the Premier League last term, but insists the players will rally themselves in order to make another fast start to the new campaign.
He said, “We were thinking to ourselves last season, that if we don’t do it this year, it will be even tougher next time out.
“We knew that Villa were coming down and you look at it, with Newcastle and Norwich and the teams not going up last year, it’s going to be tough.
“But the lads proved last year what can be done throughout the season, especially during that amazing run, starting from game one, and it’s going to take that again this year.
“We can’t take our foot off the pedal. We know the standards and the levels that we need to hit and if we hit them, then we should be there or thereabouts at the end.”
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Although the Newcastle United and Aston Villa games are stand-out ones on the fixture list, the midfielder is also looking forward to returning to one of his former clubs, Fulham.
“They’re all tough [games]. I know a few of the lads have played in the Premier League and they’ve played at big stadiums and big clubs, but the eye-catching fixtures will be Newcastle and Aston Villa.
“I didn’t realise how big a club Aston Villa was until I played there. The Fulham one will also be nice because I didn’t play in that game last season.
“It’s that same cliché where you take it one game at a time, even though I’m saying it now before the season has even started.
“It’s a tough opening five or six games, but if we start strong and set our stall out, then we should be riding that wave like last year.”
The experienced midfielder highlighted the importance of having a strong squad going into the new campaign and praised Chris Hughton’s management style.
“He knows his football and it’s key for players coming to sign that they sit down and see his visions and see where he wants the football club to go.
“I’m sure there will be a few more players that he’ll try to get though and that’s vital because it’s a tough, long season and you do get injuries along the way.
“You always need one or two additions that mix it up to strengthen the squad.”