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Blackburn preview

So the new season is upon us.

The one day in the season where everyone is equal. Hopes and dreams remain intact as the sun shines down onto the perfect green turf below. Optimism reigns supreme.

There is expectation now more than ever before. A serious assault on the top four is a possibility - albeit an outside one, but there are high hopes.

A tricky fixture to open up with then. Blackburn will be no pushover, well organised and tough to beat. We also have the threat of it being far from a game for the purists. Being in bullish mood it is the type of game we should be looking forward to. A chance to banish the miserable away form of last season against the type of side who we typically do not fare well against.

People will be waiting for us to fall. Especially against a Blackburn side where people will be quick to criticism the 'soft touch stars' who can't mix it with the rough boys. Should we fail today, lining up no doubt will be Sam Allardyce.

Picture the self-satisfied grin across his face, gum chewing with the expression of a smug traffic warden dishing out a parking ticket to an old lady parked an inch on to a double yellow line.

It is easy to forget that at one stage there was a huge call for this guy to be our manager. How times change.

Given the squad we now have, there is much speculation on our line-up with some big calls for Mark Hughes to make. Should Tevez fail to make it, I think Hughes goes for a 4-5-1 line up with Bellamy and Robinho supporting Adebayor. The trio of Ireland, Barry and de Jong behind and then just the question of Richards or Zabaleta at right-back.

Of course it is difficult to call but we have fared well at Ewood Park in the past, and in confident mood I'll go for a 2-1 victory to open the season.