Roberto Di Matteo may look dapper and be a Chelsea boy at heart, but the amiable Italian manager seems tuned in to the humble requirements of a club like newly promoted West Brom. When he returns to his former club tomorrow for the opening game of the new campaign, the former MK Dons coach is likely to give a debut to Nicky Shorey, the newly signed full-back from their bitter West Midland rivals Aston Villa, whom he rates for being "solid" and "English". Shorey evidently did well leaving Villa Park when he did, as he made the switch to The Hawthorns before the Martin O'Neill meltdown.
Avram Grant, the manager, must have got used to penny pinching during last season's turmoil at beleaguered Portsmouth. While scouring the bargain basement at his new club, Grant has offered a trial to Jeremy Aliadiere, the former Arsenal forward, who is a free agent after leaving Middlesbrough in the summer. West Ham will need more attacking reinforcements if Carlton Cole leaves Upton Park, a move that will likely come to pass if suitors part with £20m. Liverpool is said to be Cole's most likely destination and only Frederic Piquionne has been added to the attack.
Wigan's fixture at home to Blackpool on the opening day of the season could be construed as the earliest relegation six-pointer ever played in the Premier League. Roberto Martinez, the Spanish manager in charge of the Latics, will hope Mauro Boselli, his new Argentine striker, will immediately start to repay the faith shown £6.2m invested in him by firing the home side to victory tomorrow. Boselli, the South American who was signed from Estudiantes in the summer, netted twice in Wigan's warm-up win over Dundee United last week.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, Mick McCarthy, is keen on Michael Mancienne, the youngster who apparently wants out of Chelsea after finding first-team football at Stamford Bridge hard to come by. Mancienne, a rising England star who can play in defence or midfield, has previously enjoyed loan spells at Molineux for the past two seasons. McCarthy would favour a similar arrangement again. However, he says Chelsea want to sell the want-away player, which could hinder the deal.
* Compiled by Paul Radley and Gary Meenaghan