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Brendan Rodgers ready to prove that he is up to the task

The number of Northern Irish managers working in England is dwindling with just Brendan Rodgers flying the flag for Ulster in the Championship this year.

And if recent history at the Welsh club is anything to go by, by the end of the campaign that ratio could be down to zero. Rodgers is the third different man to take charge of the club in as many seasons after Paulo Sousa left the club after they missed out on a place in the play-offs by a point, finishing seventh in the table.

Ballymena-born Rodgers is beginning work at his third club after stints at Watford and Reading.

“I have a point to prove every day of my life and at all of the clubs I've been at,” Rodgers says.

“I'm still the same person I was six months ago. The quality of my work is still the same. I just went to a club that was in my heart, but at the wrong time.

“Reading were going through a massive transition, but because of the way I work, once you stick with it, it comes to fruition and unfortunately I never got my chance to do that at Reading.

“But I stand here today a better person for that experience and hope over the next number of years Swansea can get the benefit of that.”

There are plenty of Northern Ireland internationals through the Championship aiming to impress, not least Sammy Clingan (pictured) at Coventry City.

They also have a new manager in Aidy Boothroyd — but his main task is to steer the club away from the relegation zone which haunted them for much of last year.

And it’s the battle at the bottom of the table with teams scrapping to avoid the drop into League One, which is often as intense as the scrap to go up.

Michael O’Connor is determined to help keep Scunthorpe United away from the wrong end of the table as are Michael Bryan and Lee Hodson at Watford, another club expected to struggle.

Sheffield United have high hopes of at the very least making it to the play-offs this season helped by Northern Ireland international Jamie Ward.

One side to look out for Bristol City. Former Institute defender Ivan Sproule will be out to impress manager Steve Coppell, who signalled his intentions by snapping up keeper David James from Portsmouth.

Belfast Telegraph

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