Date: 18th June 2007 at 6:42pm
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Even though we are not allowed to publish the fixtures for the 2007/08 season – we all know why – I think it is safe to say we all know what they are like.

Harry Redknapp has said in The News that Pompey’s toughest ever start to a Premiership season ‘will not wreck his plans for another top 10 finish.’

‘We couldn’t have been given a harder start than we have. It’s an incredible first six games. But that’s how it goes. We’ve got to play them.

‘In all honesty, I would rather play the big sides later.

‘I think a good time to play the big four is towards the end of the season, when they’re heavily involved in the Champions League, FA Cup and whatever.

‘The opening day at Derby will a tough one. It’s never easy against a side very early in the season when they’ve just come up.

‘You would much rather play them six or seven weeks into the season when they’ve come back down to earth.

‘But it’s exciting to see the fixtures. I’m looking forward to the season.

‘But it’s going to be the toughest Premier League ever.

‘Newcastle, West Ham and Aston Villa are all spending money. And Sunderland, who are going for David Nugent, will be strong.’

We have to play the top dogs at some point so starting off against them is not that much of a concern for me. After all we will all be in the same boat, so no one can have excuses for anything and if we are hungry enough we will do well – and I think we will despite what the ‘experts’ think.

Redknapp went on to add ‘If we can finish in the top half again, it will be amazing.

‘I did it three years in a row when I was at West Ham. But it’s not an easy thing to do.

‘Spurs, who are a massive club, went nine years between the mid-90s and 2005 not finishing in the top eight. That shows how hard it is to get up there.

‘And it’s why I’d settle for a top-half finish every season.’

Yes it will be a tough season – with a good handful of clubs having the same thinking as we do – but if lessons are learned from the last one we should enjoy it even more.

Much like I said when the fixtures were released I would much rather have the season ending the way it is than the way it starts. I feel if we are in with a chance at a Uefa Cup place in the final 10 games or so we will get it this season on that basis – but would settle for matching last season efforts at least.

PLAY UP POMPEY!