Norwich City clash is the stand-out league fixture for Bristol City’s Gary O’Neil

Gary O'Neil is scheduled to make an early return to Norwich City with new club Bristol City. Picture

Gary O'Neil is scheduled to make an early return to Norwich City with new club Bristol City. Picture: - Credit:

Gary O'Neil admits an early Championship reunion with Norwich City is the 'stand-out' league fixture for him, after rejecting a new Carrow Road deal to join Bristol City.

The 33-year-old midfielder officially linked up with the Robins on July 1 - the start of his 16th pre-season as a professional - after his Canaries' contract expired but O'Neil is scheduled to return to Norfolk for Norwich's first midweek home league game of the new season on Tuesday, August 16.

The Bristolians then face fellow relegated Premier League sides Newcastle United and Aston Villa in back-to-back home games in a tough start to the campaign.

'The Norwich game has come up quite early so obviously that stands out for me,' he told his club's official site. 'The fact we play relegated and promoted teams in our first five games gives us good mixture and we can find out where we are at.

'You used to run (in pre-season) until someone was sick and then the fitness coach knew you'd done enough. There's a bit more to it these days but as you get old they do get a bit tougher. There's a lot more science that goes into it now and I think it makes sense.

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'You know what you're doing, you know why you're doing it and it's all geared up to getting you in the right shape for the start of the season.'

O'Neil's first game in a Bristol City shirt is likely to come in a friendly this weekend against non-league Hengrove Athletic.

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