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‘A tough start, but exciting’ – says Tony

Mowbray says Rovers must be ready for Championship challenge come the opening day

21 June 2019

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Tony Mowbray admits Rovers have been handed a ‘tough start’ to the new Championship season, but his sole focus is on making sure his side are ready for the challenge.

Following the release of the 2019-20 fixtures yesterday, Rovers will start the season at home to newly-promoted Charlton Athletic, before some big games against Fulham, Middlesbrough, Cardiff City and West Bromwich Albion in the opening month.

The manager admits he would have preferred to be away from home on the opening day and insists Rovers shouldn’t take a team that have just come out of League One lightly.

“I’ve always preferred to be away on the opening day to be honest,” said the Rovers boss.

“I think the adrenaline of the opening day of the season is so intense for both teams, the margins in the game are really, really tight.

“Everyone has had six weeks preparation. Everyone has watched the team they’re playing numerous times through pre-season. Everybody knows everything about everybody.

“They’re really tight games generally, so I’ve always preferred to play away and then have a couple of games at home, but I don’t mind.

“Charlton, as we did 12 months ago, coming out of League One, they’ll have a bit of momentum. They’ll relish the challenge and they’ll be fully at it.

“They’re all tough games. Let’s not think ‘it’s a promoted League One team, it’s an easy game’, because there’s no easy games.

“I saw Charlton’s games in the play-offs and they’re a good football team.

“I saw them live at Doncaster and they played really well that day, with a back three, good possession, good technical players and a threat up front.

“I’ve always said, the fixtures are the fixtures. You have to play everybody twice. It looks on paper quite a tough start, with some big clubs early on, like Fulham and Middlesbrough and Cardiff and West Brom.

“But it’s exciting, the fixtures coming out. You have to play them and the pragmatist in me says let’s just get ourselves as good as we can be and not worry about who we’re playing, let’s just play the football matches and see how we get on.”

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