It’s quite a tough start for us going somewhere like Derby for the first game of the season.
We drew twice with them last season in two hard-fought games, but it’s sometimes good to have a game like that early on to quickly get back in the swing of playing competitive football.
Everyone wants to come to the start of the season injury free and when you get to that first game, it’s a bit of a shock to the system. In the first 20 minutes, you’re struggling a little bit.
In pre-season, you do a lot of running and fitness work and the games don’t tend to be as competitive compared to the ones during the season.
Normally it takes you four or five games to get up to match speed, so having the tougher games earlier on can help.
I hope we can quickly get the disappointment out of our system, but the players are back in training now and I’m sure the characters in the team will ensure we get back to business.
Personally when I was a player, I always used to look at the games we’ve got over the winter months.
It’s good that we’re going to Newcastle in August, as you don’t really want to go there when it’s freezing cold in January!
The Christmas period in general is quite good for us, in terms of not having to travel too far. We’ve got back-to-back home games with QPR and Cardiff and a short trip to Fulham on 2nd January which suits us.
It’s always nice to be around your family at that time of the year. Sometimes you stay overnight on Christmas Day, which is not ideal. That’s been quite kind to us and allows the players to spend more time with their loved ones.
The main thing that stands out for me is the run-in through April and into May, but there’s no easy game in this league. It’s got so much harder since my time playing.
Of the last six games, four of them are away against Wolves, Norwich, Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers.
The trips to Norwich and Aston Villa in two of the last three games is going to be very difficult, but it’s a great challenge for our players and I’m sure they’ll be ready for it.