Manager Gary Bowyer is relishing Rovers’ season opener at home to Cardiff City.
The Ewood Park encounter will be shown live on Sky Sports on Friday August 8th and is the curtain raiser to the new Football League season.
Given the calibre of the clubs that are joining the Championship, Bowyer is expecting the level of competition to be even greater than last term – when Rovers only narrowly missed out on a place in the play-offs – but it is a challenge that excites him.
“It’s a fantastic first fixture,” said the Rovers boss.
“Live on Sky against a team who have just come out of the Premier League and have still got a Premier League squad.
“They are active in the transfer market at the moment and have money to spend on strengthening their squad.
“So we are aware of the challenge and I expect it to be an even bigger challenge than last season and it’s up to us to be ready for it.
“When you look at the sides that have dropped out of the Premier League and the ones that have come up from League One, it’s going to be a tough old season again, but one we’re excited by.”
As well as kicking off the season at home, Rovers also end their Championship campaign back at base, against Ipswich Town, but it is the fixture that marks the mid-point of the campaign that really stands out for the Rovers boss.
“It’s always nice to start at home,” Bowyer added. “Last year we were away at Derby, so it’s lucky in that sense that we start and finish the season at home.
“Bolton on Boxing Day is a great one. You always want to create that Boxing Day atmosphere that you used to go by and a local derby on Boxing Day is a great fixture for both clubs.”
The manager insists that he shared the supporters’ excitement yesterday when the fixtures were released and now can’t wait to welcome the players back onto the training pitch.
“It’s great,” he said. “Everyone’s watching all the football on TV with the World Cup, but you’re desperate to get cracking yourself and the fixtures coming out means that we’re getting closer to the players coming back for the start of pre-season.”