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HUGHTON'S NOTES

Posted on 4 August 2006  - 12:00

Chris Hughton's latest assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Chris Hughton's latest assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

THIS IS a great friendly for us, one because of the quality of the team and the stature of the club in Germany and two, it's a magnificent stadium. They are a well-supported club so we're expecting big numbers for the game and that's good for us. It's almost a pressurised pre-season game when you play in that type of environment and they are the friendlies you want.

We've had a good pre-season so far, a winning pre-season and we want that to continue. It's all about our preparations - we're two weeks away from the start of the Premiership and it's a test, one where we'll have to be on top of our game because they are too good a side not to take advantage if we're not.

Borussia Dortmund lost a couple of players including the big striker Koller and Rosicky, the midfielder who we all know has gone to Arsenal, so that will be a blow to them but their strength is within the team unit rather than individuals. They had three players in Germany's World Cup squad in Kehl, Metzelder and Odonkor and that was obviously a huge success for them.

In the summer they signed striker Alexander Frei. He's a very good player, one I know very well and someone who haunted us when I was with the Republic of Ireland. He's a Swiss international with a wonderful goalscoring record. He did very well with Rennes in France over the last couple of seasons and it's a good purchase for them. I would expect him to score goals for them.

Borussia Dortmund is a massive club, especially in terms of the fan-base and success at the end of the 1990s, when they won the European Cup, and early 2000s, when they won the title again. Bayern Munich have dominated the Bundesliga for a number of years but other clubs are creeping up and they will no doubt hope to be one of them.

Pre-season has gone well for us so far. Okay, we've picked up a couple of injuries along the way - Paul Stalteri, Andy Reid and Ledley King, which is obviously a disappointment, but you'd expect that and it's nothing new. Having said that, Paul is stepping up his training and travels to Germany with us and hopefully Andy won't be too long. Ledley is a longer one and will miss the start of the season, so that's a blow. Our work on the pitch has been very good and we can't fault the players' application. The three games in France were very rewarding and it's so far, so good but pre-season is all about preparation and it only really counts at Bolton on August 19.