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Six strikers who smashed it in the Premier League after promotion from Championship

After plundering an impressive 29 goals in the Championship last season, Norwich striker Teemu Pukki has seemingly taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, leading the early scoring charts with five goals from the opening three games.

While it may seem rare, the 29-year-old is certainly not the first finisher to impressively make the step up to top flight football, with a number of strikers having shone since firing their sides to promotion from the second tier.

Here are six strikers who smashed it in the Premier League after promotion from the Championship…

Andy Cole

The third-highest goalscorer in Premier League history, the former England forward announced himself in English football’s top division with a prolific campaign for Newcastle United in 1993/94.

Having fired the Magpies to promotion after joining midway through the previous season, Cole would hit a Premier League record 34 goals in his debut season in the top flight, winning the Golden Boot and being named as the PFA Young Player of the Year.

His prolific form continued into the following season, securing him a British-record £7m move to Manchester United, where he would go on to score over 120 goals in almost seven seasons at the club, winning five league titles and being an integral part of the club’s famed treble-winning team of 1999.

He would later have Premier League spells at Blackburn, Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Sunderland, finishing his career with 187 top flight goals, third only to Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney who netted 260 and 208 goals respectively.

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Kevin Phillips

Phillips would spend the first seasons of his career in the lower divisions with Watford and Sunderland, before firing the latter to promotion to the Premier League in 1999.

Forming a devastating ‘little and large’ partnership with Niall Quinn on Wearside, the forward would plunder 30 Premier League goals in his first season at the top level as Sunderland surprisingly finished seventh.

His tally would see him win the Premier League’s Golden Boot, whilst he also became the first and so far only Englishman to win the Golden Shoe as Europe’s top scorer.

Phillips would go on to score regularly at Premier League level for several seasons, turning out for clubs such as Aston Villa and Southampton.


Marcus Stewart

The season after Phillips’ remarkable debut Premier League campaign, Ipswich Town forward Marcus Stewart was another newly-promoted striker to hit the ground running.

Stewart would hit 19 Premier League goals, finishing as runner-up to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink for the Golden Boot, as Ipswich shocked everyone to finish the season in fifth.

Having come up via the play-offs, many had expected George Burley’s side to struggle, but backed by Stewart’s goals they remarkably qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Ipswich would struggle to repeat their success the following season and were relegated, Stewart departing for Sunderland at the end of the season.



Signed on loan halfway through Portsmouth’s successful promotion campaign in 2002/03, the Nigerian made the move permanent as Harry Redknapp’s side made the step-up to the top flight.

Yakubu would hit 16 Premier League goals in his first season as Portsmouth comfortably avoided relegation, including a haul of four against Middlesbrough on the final day of the season.

Another campaign of double figures sparked interest in his services, and he would join Middlesbrough in a £7.5m deal in 2005. ‘The Yak’ would go on to score regularly for ‘Boro, Everton and Blackburn, finishing his Premier League career having scored 96 goals.

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Andy Johnson

Johnson’s 27 goals had helped Crystal Palace to promotion to the Premier League in 2004, but few would have predicted he would have produced another 20+ in his first season in the top flight.

The forward would score 21 goals in an ultimately failed attempt to keep the club in the Premier League, Palace finishing 18th and suffering a swift return to the second tier, a tally which remains the highest goalscoring return for a relegated player.

Johnson’s performances were enough to see him named in the PFA Team of the Year, and despite staying loyal to Palace for the 2005/06 season, his goalscoring exploits were enough to persuade Everton to sign him in a club-record deal following Palace’s failure to secure a second promotion.

The eight-cap England international would continue to score at Premier League level for the Merseyside club and later Fulham, scoring 51 goals in 187 top flight appearances for the three clubs.

Rickie Lambert

A man who spent the majority of his footballing journey in the lower divisions of English football, the Liverpool native turned out for clubs such as Macclesfield Town, Stockport County and Rochdale during his career.

An impressive scoring record at Bristol Rovers prompted Southampton, who had slipped all the way down to League One, to sign the forward to propel them back up the divisions, and he did just that.

He netted 88 goals over three seasons, helping the Saints to back-to-back promotions in 2011 and 2012, finally earning himself an opportunity in the Premier League where he hit 15 goals in his first season, as Southampton comfortably finished 14th.

His form would prompt an England call-up, memorably scoring with his first touch on debut against Scotland, whilst a haul of 13 goals in his second top-flight season saw him earn a dream move to boyhood club Liverpool.

He would fail to reproduce his best form at Anfield, though he had shown he belonged at Premier League level.

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Quiz: Can you name every Premier League golden boot winner?

See also: Five players who need a new division between the Premier League and the Championship