'Birmingham away is a very tough start' – City boss Farke gives his view on Championship fixtures
PUBLISHED: 12:56 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:56 21 June 2018
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Norwich City boss Daniel Farke has described his side’s trip to Birmingham City as a ‘very tough start’ to the Championship campaign.
The Canaries kick-off their 2018/19 campaign at St Andrew’s against a Blues team which finished 19th last season, just five points clear of the drop zone.
That came after an improvement in form under former Swansea boss Garry Monk who took over in March after poor spells under Harry Redknapp and Steve Cotterill.
City beat the Blues 1-0 at Carrow Road in September thanks to an early Nelson Oliveira strike and then completed the double with a 2-0 away victory on Boxing Day through goals from Alex Pritchard and Josh Murphy.
The first home game of the season then follows the next Saturday when West Brom arrive, fresh from dropping out of the Premier League after eight seasons in the top flight.
“Birmingham away is a very tough start,” said Farke. “If I’m honest, they were struggling last season and just managed to stay up.
“But they are a big club with a great head coach in Garry Monk. They will have a much better role in the league next season.
“For West Brom, their main topic is to return to the Premier League. It doesn’t get much tougher than playing them at home first but it will be a good test for my lads.”
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City’s German head coach is preparing to welcome his players back to Colney for pre-season on Monday, ahead of the first friendly at King’s Lynn Town on Friday, July 6.
Games against Lincoln and Crawley follow before a tour of Germany which is set to include games against Paderborn, Union Berlin and Wolfsburg.
“For sure, the fixture list is important because we have to prepare the lads for the new season,” Farke added, speaking to City’s official website.
“I cannot influence the fixture list so I have been more focused on preparing for our pre-season which starts very soon.
“You can analyse when it’s good to play each team but each and every team has to play each other twice.
“But I know all the lads are looking forward to getting back to work in pre-season and we are all very excited for the new season.”
Commenting on the East Anglian Derby games, at Portman Road on September 1 and Carrow Road on February 9 provisionally, he continued: “Last season, we all got to experience how important the games are to the fans, the city and to the whole region.
“We managed to get four points over the two games and the draw in the last minute felt like a win so hopefully we can do well again next season.”