Clem aims for quick start

Last updated : 17 June 2009 By Iain Bate - Wba-mad Editor

Neil Clement is hoping to send out a message of intent to Albion’s promotion rivals by starting the season off with a win against Newcastle

The two former Premier League teams face each other on the opening day of the season in the Championship’s eye-catching fixture with ‘Clem’ hoping to hit the ground running.

Albion’s longest serving player is hoping to be fit for the visit of Newcastle on Saturday 8th August after battling back from another serious knee injury and is expecting another tough campaign in the Championship.

“The Newcastle game was a Premier League fixture last season and it's a nice game to kick-off with," the 30-year-old former Chelsea man said.

"If we can get off to a good start against one of the favourites to go up it could bode well for the rest of the season.

"We had a similar scenario eight years ago when we played one of the hot favourites to go up in Manchester City at home early in the season and beat them 4-0 when I scored two.

"It did the team the world of good and gave us the confidence to believe we had a good chance of getting promoted, which we did.

"If we play well against Newcastle it will lay down a marker to the rest of the division.

"Sheffield United are always pretty strong in the Championship.

"Ipswich will be a good footballing game because both teams like to pass the ball and, with Roy Keane there this year, they could be dark horses for promotion - I think they'll be dangerous this season.

"Roy did well when he took over at Sunderland and got them promoted.

"Darren Ferguson is doing a good job at Peterborough so it's a tough start - but they are winnable games and hopefully the players can step up to the plate.

"In the past we haven't started very well in the Championship and still won promotion.

"But I think it's important we make a good start and kick on”