Stephen Ireland accepts the Blues are under pressure going into the new season but is adamant that expectation can be used as a positive force.
The reigning player of the season admits that he is glad the phoney war of friendlies is over and the real action is approaching rapidly.
And he is relishing the challenge of trying to bust open the four team cartel that has habitually carved up the Champions League places.
“People have been talking about us all summer and while that might increase expectation and the pressure there is no reason why we cannot use that to our advantage,” he declared.
There can be no excuses this season. There can be no bad days at the office or not getting off the bus. There will be people hoping we fail and we have to make sure they are disappointed.
...Stevie sets out his stall
“It’s a big season for us and for our fans too. You only have to see the way they have snapped up tickets for the opening game to understand the excitement. Friends of mine who are Blues cannot stop talking about the season ahead.”
The midfielder says that the excitement is also rubbing off on him and he stressed the importance of getting points on the board as early as possible.
“For the last couple of days I have been driving into the training ground thinking of nothing other than the season getting under way,” he continued.
"I don’t like the build up even though it puts and edge on you. I want the real tests to begin and the first thing of interest is to see who is in the team.
“The spirit here is as good as I have ever known it. What we would ideally like is a fast start and to gain momentum quickly making progress in the league and getting a Carling Cup run going.”
*Don’t forget to follow tomorrow’s match on our new Match Day Centre. It opens an hour before kick-off, and it will also link to live radio commentary from Key 103.