The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

PRE­PAR­ING for the open­ing day of the sea­son is a tough ex­er­cise for a man­ager.The build up for that one game seems so long.The great dan­ger is that a man­ager ei­ther places too much or too lit­tle em­pha­sis on the job that needs to be done.

All the talk is about the sea­son ahead, which can dis­tract from win­ning that first game. But on the other hand, there is a dan­ger that you make too much of your op­po­si­tion be­cause of the time avail­able to pre­pare.

Get­ting the bal­ance right is vi­tal. I have rarely got it right and con­tin­u­ally re-think how to pro­duce bet­ter first day out- comes. Even as an ex­pe­ri­enced man­ager, you get only one at­tempt at the open­ing day each sea­son. So there isn’t much op­por­tu­nity to prac­tise!

I have prob­a­bly been in charge for just 14 open­ing days, de­spite han­dling 800 odd games.

To those whose club didn’t win yes­ter­day I can of­fer a small con­so­la­tion: our last two pro­mo­tions at Steve­nage came af­ter open­ing day draws!

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