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David Healy does not believe Fulham will be dragged into a relegation scrap when the new season gets under way.

The Cottagers staged a miraculous escape at the end of last term to survive ahead of Reading and Birmingham on the final day.

They won four of their final five games and Healy is now looking to push on and finish much higher up the table.

He told Sky Sports News: “Expectations are certainly going to be higher this season. We let our standards drop last season, as individuals and as a team.

“We avoided relegation but we should never have been in that situation with the players we had.”

Healy accepts that Fulham need to strengthen their squad to compete for a higher place and he is confident Roy Hodgson will bring in the right players.

He said: “We have a fresh start now and I’m sure there are going to be a few new signings. I’m certainly looking forward to it.

“I know we have signed Zoltan Gera from West Brom, Mark Schwarzer from Middlesbrough and an Iranian international (Andranik Teymourian) from Bolton, so (it has been) pretty quiet.

“But the market doesn’t really lift off until the players get back into pre-season and the managers see who is available.”

Healy was impressed by Hodgson last season, adding: “He has experience of managing huge clubs throughout Europe. He came in at a time last season when we were struggling and he’s turned it round.

“He’s proved in the past what he’s more capable of and I’m sure he’ll be looking to carry on his success.”

Fulham travel to newly promoted Hull on the opening day of the season before facing Arsenal and Manchester United, and Healy realises the importance of making a fast start.

“We won four of our last five games and hopefully we can start the season well,” he commented.

“We have a tough start away to Hull and then Arsenal and Manchester United, but they are all tough games.”