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24 June 2013

City manager gives his thoughts on City's fixtures

CHRIS HUGHTON says a home game is the ideal launchpad for the Canaries as they begin their third consecutive season in the Premier League by hosting Everton.

City will welcome the Toffees on August 17 to kick-off the 2013-14 campaign in what will be Roberto Martinez’s first competitive match in charge since taking over from David Moyes at Goodison Park.

Hughton said he recognises the challenge against a team who secured a top-six finish in the division last time around, but is looking forward to beginning the season at Carrow Road – the first time this has happened since City were promoted two years ago.

“I think if you had a choice you would always want to be at home in the first game,” he explained when speaking exclusively to following the release of the full fixture list last week.

“Over the season, it’s a fairly even spread. The first game of course is a real tough test, against an Everton side that impressed last year.

“They’ve got a very good squad with very good players, and in Roberto they’ve got a very good manager. It’s a new team for him and a new challenge for him, but I very much expect him to do well.

“We are at home, though, and you would always look for a home game on that first weekend.”

Not only do the Canaries start at Carrow Road, but the two games immediately after Christmas will be played on home turf too, as well as the season’s final match against Arsenal on May 11.

“What I am pleased about with regards to the home fixtures is that it’s great for the supporters,” added the City boss.

“I think we are delighted that the two games over Christmas both see us at home, which will be great for them. It will mean that they won’t have to travel far and wide.

“To have the last game of the season at home is always nice too. You hope that it’s a good finish for you and you’re able to really thank your supporters.”

Observers’ eyes were drawn to City’s final set of fixtures, where City will host Liverpool before consecutive trips to Chelsea and Manchester United before that season finale against the Gunners.

Hughton admits the nature in which the games have come together isn’t ideal, but pointed to the memorable win at Manchester City at last season’s climax as an example of what can be achieved.

“There is no doubt that if you had a choice, you would prefer not to play four games of that difficult together, particularly at that stage of the season,” said Hughton.

“However, we’ve gone to Manchester City on the last game of last season and we were able to win, so the approach going into those games will never be one of fear – we’ll try and get what we can from each of them.

“It is what it is and you never know what position any of those clubs will be in.”

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