Owen Coyle says he and his staff are treating the season’s opener against former employers Burnley as ‘any other game’, with his squad determined to get off the best possible start at Turf Moor.
Coyle and his backroom team helped guide the Clarets to top-flight football for the first time in 33 years and a League Cup semi-final before moving to Wanderers in January 2010.
And speaking in his pre-match press conference, the manager admitted that he was expecting a hostile atmosphere at Turf Moor but that it would not affect his side’s game plan.
“We’re all excited and looking forward to the season,” he said. “Football is the best game in the world. We’re going to a very difficult venue against a very good side with a terrific young manager, but it’s a game we’re all looking forward to – getting out there playing and showing our quality.
“We have to make sure that we’re not only ready for a vocal atmosphere, but that but equally we’re ready to play on the pitch and get the ball down, pass and move it across the grass and look to try and win three points.
“It’s like any other game. I’ve certainly been in many intimidating atmospheres away from home and nothing will change on Saturday. The Burnley fans are vocal, they’re passionate about their side and that’s one thing we identified when we were working there.
“But it’s about us. We’re looking to get back to the Premier League and we think we have enough quality to do that. We know how demanding the Championship is and the quality it holds, but it’s a challenge that we’re looking to be ready for.
“Everybody will feel there is an opportunity to get off to a flying start. You want to make sure you hit the ground running – to do that you’re going to have to play very well. The better you play, the more chance you have of achieving those results and having the start the everybody craves.
“Pre-season served its purpose. That four or five weeks of intensive training gives you the platform to really have the freshness to last the season. What we’ve done is gradually built up and last week was terrific.
“We went to Tranmere and put in a terrific performance. We changed the team again when we played Barcelona B on the Friday and, again, put in another terrific performance, so I think it stands us in good stead heading into Saturday.
“The lads are very excited to get out and play. What you have to do is get out there, deal with the pressure and make sure you show your quality on the pitch – that’s what we’ll look to do.
“We have a good balance with some of the young players that have got much better – Adam Bogdan and Mark Davies. We’ve also got Chung-Yong Lee and Tyrone Mears fit, so it’s great to have that quality added to the squad.
“We have experience with players like Sam Ricketts and Kevin Davies and that helps. With that youth, quality and experience you know you’ve assembled a very good squad.”