A tasty starter

Last updated : 18 June 2009 By Bladesmadeditor
0,,10309~2931559,00Manager Kevin Blackwell and his 20 or so players will be returning to England from around the globe after a well earned break, and after the fixtures for every side in England were published yesterday (Wednesday), the gaffer couldn't have wished for much more of a tough opener.

He said: "It's a big match to kick-off with. Twelve months ago we started on television against Birmingham and I wouldn't be surprised if we did so again.
The match (at Middlesbrough) is one of the two stand-out fixtures on the opening day.

"I know it's a cliche but they are all hard at this level. Every single one is competitive and they've all got to be played.

"We could have had an easier one though, on paper at least, to begin with.

"But I'm sure that Boro would have preferred not to have started against opposition of our stature."

He added: "It will be a great test for everybody and obviously we will find out the strengths of the teams coming down from the Premier League, so I am looking forward to it.

"The Championship has been very unpredictable for many years now and I don't think next season will be any different. It will be interesting to see how the relegated clubs handle this division, and the investment going into the teams between now and the start of the season could throw up some unknowns.

"The Championship is getting bigger and bigger all the time so it will be terrific to be in the mix again."