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Raring to go

English Barclays Premiership

George Graham insists the players are raring to hear the first whistle of the Premiership season.

The countdown has finished and Ipswich Town arrive at White Hart Lane for our opening fixture of the 2000-2001 season.

Pre-season has gone well with newcomers Sergei Rebrov, Neil Sullivan and Ben Thatcher all settling well and we completed eight friendlies unbeaten, winning seven and conceding just one goal.

Boss Graham said: "We're all geared up. We've had six weeks of pre-season training and this week it has all been focussed on the beginning of the season. The players want to start playing."

Ipswich finally completed their Premiership dream after years of near misses by winning last season's First Division play-offs at Wembley. Their signings include Martijn Reuser for £1m from Vitesse Arnhem, John Scales on a free from Spurs and on Friday, Hermann Hreidarsson for £4m from Wimbledon.

Many expect a comfortable home win but Graham warned: "People think Ipswich are the boys who came up and will therefore be the favourites to go down. But last season, who would have thought Liverpool would have gone to Anfield and beaten Liverpool?

"Ipswich's team play and pattern is at the top of their level. They got promotion last season so they are firing on all cylinders, again at their level.

"They could come along and we could have an off day or still be working on our pattern and they could be superior on the day. These things can happen. We're optimistic though and the work rate from the players has been superb. We're looking forward to it."