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Posted on 14 June 2007  - 12:00

Martin Jol acknowledged that an opening day trip to Sunderland was a tough assignmment but insisted it was about how we approached the fixture that mattered, nothing else.

Martin Jol acknowledged that an opening day trip to Sunderland was a tough assignmment but insisted it was about how we approached the fixture that mattered, nothing else.

We go on the road on the first day of the Premiership for the third season running following trips to Portsmouth in 2005-06 and Bolton last term.

Now last season's Championship champions await on August 11 - that date is provisional and subject to change - with the Stadium of Light bound to be a cauldron of noise as we step out in front of 40,000-plus.

Led by Roy Keane, the Black Cats won 16 of their last 20 league games in 2006-07, losing just once, to pip Birmingham to the title on the last day of the season. They lost just four of 23 matches at home.

"If we were able to choose our matches, maybe be wouldn't go for Bolton away last season and now Sunderland away for the first game this time around," said Martin.

"We've started with away games for the last three seasons and of course, we would have preferred to start in front of our fans at White Hart Lane. Having said that, if you can come through that first game, perhaps it's then an advantage to have two home games.

FULL PROVISIONAL FIXTURE LIST - CLICK HERE...

"Sunderland needed a little time under Roy Keane last season but the squad gelled together, finished strongly, won the title and they have a number of good players.

"Everyone knows they will be right up for their first game back in the Premiership but we will be up for it as well. It's not about them, it's about us. If we pick up where we left off last season we have no need to fear any team."

The tricky opener is followed by two home matches - Everton are the first visitors to the Lane on August 14 with another newly-promoted side, Derby County, following on August 18, again, fixtures subject to change.

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