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Preview: Blackpool versus Bristol City

Bristol City will take a trip to the seaside to take on Blackpool in the first game of the new Championship season tomorrow afternoon.

The away trip will be followed by a tantalising home tie against Derby, before another home game with QPR and then an away trip to Coventry. September sees City face-off against title favourites Birmingham, along with Doncaster, Wolves and Plymouth.

Robins manager Gary Johnson has stressed the importance of a good start. Although Hull City rose up the league to eventually take third spot, and defeat City at Wembley in the play-off final, Johnson still feels that the top-6 spots will most likely be taken by those who occupy them in October.

He told the Bristol Evening Post: “A good start is so important. If you look at the statistics, they show that those teams in the top six or seven after 10 games or so are generally in the same positions come the end of the season.”

“You really do have to put a lot of effort into your early games, because a large percentage of teams that do that, stay there.”

“We made a very good start to last season and were never out of the top six from September onwards. That’s how important a good start is.”

“If you start strong, it gives you the impetus and the belief to stay there. That’s what we did last year.”

Johnson’s side goes into Saturday’s season opener with a couple of injury worries. Marvin Elliot is most likely out, with Cole Skuse ready to deputise, while Adriano Basso is reportedly not 100% fit. This could see Johnson go with Chris Weale between the sticks instead.

Excluding the goalkeepers’ position, the rest of the side will probably line-up as follows:

Defence: Orr, McCombe, Carey, McCallister
Midfield: Williams, Johnson, Skuse, McIndoe
Forwards: Maynard, Adebola
Formation: 4-4-2

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