Steffen Freund feels that our early double-header in the north-east could make or break a potentially good start to next season.
After hosting newcomers Ipswich Town on Saturday August 19, we face loug haul trips to Middlesbrough on Tuesday August 22 and Newcastle United on Saturday August 26.
However, we will not come up against a team that finished in the top six last season until a mouth-watering early trip to Elland Road on September 30. Before then we face Ipswich, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Everton, West Ham, Charlton and Manchester City.
"On paper it looks as though we have a good chance of making a good start but these games are difficult," said midfielder Freund.
"Everyone will say we should beat Ipswich on the first day but this is their first game after promotion and they will want to do well. Then we have the two away games, both very difficult. If we beat Ipswich and then come away from those two games unbeaten, then we will have confidence and a chance to start the season very well.
"But the two away games are very tough and if we lose them both, then the pressure is on for the next two games and it is not such a good situation. So I would say wait until after the two away games and then see if we can have a good start or not."
Please note that all fixture dates are provisional and likely to change.