Jay S. Sidhu, president and chief executive officer of Sovereign Bancorp, has little room for error as he takes the thrift company into New England, analysts say.

In its bold push to acquire 278 branches that are being spun off in the pending merger of Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston Corp., Sovereign would be vulnerable to "the economy weakening, credit quality declining, or earnings deteriorating," wrote Chad Yonker, a bank analyst for Fox-Pitt, Kelton in New York, in a recent report.

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