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OPINION: 2015/2016 Season Preview

With the season only a few days away the Roker Report's James Holmes gives us his thoughts on the upcoming season.

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1. What are you most looking forward to this season?

Apart from our annual nerve shredding escape? I’d have to say that the recent signing of Football Manager legend Yann M’Vila is really exciting. There is absolutely no doubting this lads talent, but much like Ben Arfa was up the road, it’s getting the best out of him which is where the challenge lies. I really think in Dick Advocaat we have one of the best managers in the league, if he can get the best out of him then we could have a real player on our hands!

2. Signing of the summer (so far)?

In terms of our signings i’d have to go for the new 5 year deal for our very own Lee Cattermole. Keeping hold of him is integral to the heart of the team and just as importantly, the connection with us fans.

Looking at the league as a whole, Cabaye for Palace looks a great piece of business. Milner to Liverpool could also be very astute.

As for worst signing, Falcao for Chelsea looks a dubious one.

3. Who will be the Player of the Season?

Very tricky, it's between Cattermole, Lens and Pantilimon for me. If Lens can make the impact we're all hoping for then he’ll be essential to us having a strong season. He has the potential to add pace and quality which is what we’ve been crying out for.

If Catts can stay fit he’ll be ever present and just as important as he has been for the last 3 seasons.

And finally, when we signed Costel Pantilimon last year i questioned why, Vito had just been crowned player of the year and led us to Wembley. But Costel was outstanding last season and there is no doubt in my mind we’d have gone down had it not been for the big Romanian.

4. What would represent a good season?

The much clichéd ‘mid-table and a cup run’ has been repeated for what seems like a decade! But for good reason, it'd be nice to go to the match and not be crippled with nerves!

Chuck in 7 in a row and if we’re safe by April i’ll be over the moon!

5. Predicted finish?

This will all depend on how the last few weeks of the transfer window go. The squad is looking much more balanced but we still need a few more incomings; a Striker, Centre Midfielder and a Winger remain top of the list. 

Leroy Fer was very close to joining so i can only assume we’ll be in the market for a Central Midfielder. Someone who can take the ball and drive forward from the middle of the park would be ideal.

I’d like to think we’ll be replacing Connor Wickham, but i have a feeling that we’re hoping for either Fletcher or Graham to leave before we authorise more funds. 

Adnan Januzaj is heavily rumoured to join on a season long loan and would offer some real pace and trickery off the bench. 

If, and it's a big if, we fill all these positions we could have a really positive season.

All this considered, i’m going for a solid but unspectacular season - 14th