Premier League newcomers Burnley and Leicester City have nothing to fear going into the new season, according to former striker and Prostate Cancer UK Ambassador Ade Akinbiyi.
The 39-year-old, who featured for both clubs during his playing days, has also predicted exciting seasons ahead for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bristol City, two other teams he represented with distinction.
Akinbiyi played alongside Dyche during his spell at Ashton Gate, and believes the understated Burnley boss will make the Clarets a tough nut to crack in 2014/15.
“Burnley will go into the season with no fear,” he said. “I know the sort of character Sean Dyche is like from when I played with him at Bristol City.
“He’s a very tough guy and knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t rush into things. The attitude he’s got has been translated into his players and you can see why they did so well last season in getting to the Premier League.
“The team ethic really stands out. Sean knows what sort of players he is going to bring in and he knows what players are like to work with. He needed to bring in players that worked together as a team – and I think it’s paid off.
“You can see when he does his interviews that he’s not one of those managers who will rant and rave; he knows what he’s talking about directly and he’s brought that into his boys as well. That’s why they have managed to be successful.”
Akinbiyi also reserved special praise for Nigel Pearson, whose Leicester side edged Burnley to the Championship title last term.
“He [Pearson] is another type of guy who is not a loud person. He’s a very well-spoken manager from when you see him interviewed,” he continued.
“The year before that they were more or less looking to push for promotion. Now he’s done it and shown he is the right manager.
“They have got more money but they didn’t go out there and splash it out. He knew what players he had, what players he wanted and he drummed his ethos into them. He got on with it quietly in his own way and that’s where he’s done really well.”
“With the size of the club and the money they put in there is perhaps more expectation at Leicester than there is at Burnley. The fans want to be in the Premier League.”
Ade's Championship picks
Among the clubs fancied to make an impression in the Championship are Wolves, after a roller coaster quest that has seen them slide from the Premier League to League One before bouncing back to the second tier at the first time of asking last term.
“Looking at Wolves, Kenny Jackett has done a remarkable job to steady the ship," continued the former Nigeria international. “There have been a few ups and downs with managers changing as well, but they seem to have steadied the ship now and hopefully they can progress.
“I’m not sure whether they can go straight back to the Premier League, but it depends on what funds they have and what relationship he has with the board over there in terms of pushing the team over the line. But they will be thereabouts.
And in League One
“I’m also looking forward to watching another of my old clubs, Bristol City, under Steve Cotterill. They didn’t have a great season last time round, but now he’s come in and steadied the ship and got them back to where they want to be. He’ll be looking for promotion.”
* Akinbiyi is an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK and recently joined Men United after losing his father Anthony to the disease in January 2014.
His second cousin, Tranmere striker Kayode Odejayi, has also seen his father affected by the disease so Akinbiyi was keen to promote a message that one in four black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
"It was a massive shock to get the news that my dad had passed away earlier this year; I didn't even know he had prostate cancer," he said.
"Sadly men of his generation are too proud to speak about it, and that has to change. That's why I've got on board; I want to do something about it and help raise awareness."
To join Ade and get on board, why not sign for Men United and see how you can help our team.