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Ainsworth: We'll be prepared for tough start

18 June 2014

Gareth Ainsworth says his side will be ready for the challenge of facing three sides recently relegated from League 1 in the first month of the season.

The fixture list for the 2014/15 campaign, released this morning, sends the Blues to Newport County on the opening day ahead of successive matches against Carlisle United, Tranmere Rovers and Stevenage, all of whom slipped out of League 1 in May.

“We go straight into a great test with the fixtures that have come out,” he told “We owe the fans – and ourselves – a performance at Newport after our defeat there in April, and then after Millwall in the cup, we face three teams who came down from League 1.

“So we’ll need to be up for the fight straight away and I want the fans right behind us, welcoming the new faces to Adams Park and helping them settle in quickly.

“There’s also a fantastic game to look forward to on Boxing Day against Luton Town – I know they’ll bring a big following with them and I’m sure there’ll be a great atmosphere for that one.”

The Capital One Cup tie at Millwall sees Ainsworth go head-to-head with his former boss Ian Holloway, and although his side will be huge underdogs against the Championship outfit, the Wanderers chief says there is nothing to fear:

“Obviously it will be a tough game but we’ll have nothing to lose and I believe we can go there and cause an upset. It will be nice for me personally to go up against Ian, who signed me for QPR back in 2003, as I have huge respect for him and I’m also close to his assistant, Marc Bircham.”

Meanwhile, having won the World Cup Seniors tournament with England in Thailand last month, Ainsworth has been paying close attention to matters in Brazil and believes England can enjoy success as long as their defensive strength matches their attacking prowess:

“I did fancy Argentina before the tournament, but having seen the first round of games, there’s a few teams that have caught the eye and Germany have been the pick of the bunch for me.

“I feel we (England) created a lot of good chances against Italy and Raheem Sterling can be key for us if we can get the ball to him in space. My worry isn’t scoring goals because I believe we will, but we need to be more solid at the back.

“Teams are using possession well, not just to create chances but also to regroup and slow it down before bursting into action with pace and fluidity. England need to be aware of these moments and recognise when they are coming.”

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