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Countdown: Stephen Carr

English Barclays Premiership

Stephen Carr refuses to dwell on the successes of last season. The ultra-consistent right-back capped a tremendous campaign by being voted Player of the Year and won more plaudits for his displays for Ireland in the Nike USA Cup.

Yet Dubliner Carr, a player who has come right through the system at the Lane, remains as down to earth as ever.

"There will be competition for places this season, perhaps even more so than last year and it's up to me to prove to the gaffer that I'm still worthy of the right-back spot," predicted Carr. "Hopefully I'll start the season and go from there.

"Things can soon change in football. I know better than to take things or granted and with the likes of Luke Young around, it wouldn't be right to take it for granted. For me to go around thinking everything's rosy would be wrong.

"I have to keep on my toes and get to the level of performance of last year and perhaps more, because the crowd will expect more now. I don't mind that. If I achieve that it will only be good for my career."

Carr also has a warning for fans expecting an easy ride against relegation favourites Ipswich Town in the Premiership opener on Saturday.

"Ipswich have a point to prove," he said. "It's their first game back in the Premiership and they will want to show they are good enough. People won't expect them to beat us and the pressure will be on us to beat them.

"It's the first game of the season and we're just getting back into things. That makes it tough. But we need the points because after Ipswich we go to Middlesbrough and Newcastle which are always difficult games. We need a positive start."