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A tough first week ahead

Something I touched upon previously when it was announced that we would not receive a bye into the 3rd round of the Carling Cup become more apparant today as the club were told that we will have to play our fixture in the competition in the first week of the season - along with our opening two league fixtures and the UEFA 2nd leg against FC Midjtylland.

The following week is an international week so the club were left with no choice which now sees the week as follows:
  • Sunday 24th, West Ham (H)
  • Tuesday 26th, Carling Cup 3rd round
  • Thursday 28th, FC Midjtylland (A)
  • Sunday 31st, Sunderland (A)
I know many Premier League sides put out fringe sides (something Eriksson did early on) in the competition and I don't see any other outcome than Mark Hughes playing a virtual reserve side, particularly if we are drawn away as to compound the schedule we face, the UEFA Cup tie is away meaning plenty of travel in addition to the games themselves.

Despite it being the start of the season, I don't think physically the players would cope with such a schedule so the hope is that we land an easy (home) tie in the Carling Cup and have built a solid enough lead in the UEFA game so we can afford to leave out many of the players who are likely to feature prominently in the season.

Which on the plus side, should give us more opportunity to see more of the likes of Evans, Sturridge and Weiss as well.