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Scott Parker says his Fulham side are ready for the challenge of playing in Premier League.

The Fulham boss knows that his team, promoted via the play-offs last month, having largely been written off as top flight cannon fodder following their dismal showing in the top flight two years ago but believes his players will be fired up to prove a point to most of the pundits who have predicted them to finish bottom of the pile this year. Parker feels his side have shown great character and maturity to reach the top flight over the past six months and that will stand them in good stead as they make the step up.

Speaking to the press ahead of Saturday’s opening fixture against Arsenal, Parker said:

We need to relish this challenge. We set a challenge last year to get out of the Championship at the first time of asking and we did that. We face a challenge now which is now going from going from the majority of weeks being expected to win, now to be in a division where it is going to be a lot more difficult. It is a challenge we have to embrace, take on and we are in a good place to do that. Mentally we are in that place and understand what we will face.

Parker said that new signing Alphonese Areola, who arrived on loan from Paris Saint-Germain yesterday, will provide stern competition for last season’s number one Marek Rodak.

Areola coming in brings competition which is vastly needed in a League which we know is one of the best in the world. What is vital for me in my position and vital for us to be successful this year is healthy competition. We realise when you have that then there is always someone pushing. It will be for me to make a judgement on that. At this moment in time I won’t do that but the signing is one which I think means they could push each other. I’ve got two very good keepers here and that is exactly what I need.