Steve Cooper | It's a tough opener, but we will be ready
Steve Cooper has vowed Swansea City will be ready for a tough opening Championship test at Preston on Saturday.
The Swans head to Deepdale for the start of the 2020-21 league season, looking to kick on from reaching the play-offs last term.
They visit a Preston side who were themselves in the promotion hunt last term, before eventually finishing ninth in the table.
Games between the sides have proven to be hard-fought affairs, and head coach Cooper expects things to be no different in Lancashire this weekend.
But he knows it is the sort of assignment his Swans need to be ready to pass.
“It’s going to be a tough game, it would be a tough game anyway even if it was not our first game,” he said.
“It was a tough game there last year, they are a really good outfit with good players and a really aggressive style of football that can be hard to play against.
“They have more-or-less the same squad as last season, which was a strong one as you could see based on how they performed in the league.
“They have had a chance to continue their good work, so it will be a tough game to get us up and running. But we look forward to it and we will be ready for it.
“There are things you have to do in Championship games if you want to get results and have success, and we are going to do our very best to get up there and give a good account of ourselves as the season starts.”
Due to the late finish to the 2019-20 season in the wake of the three-month suspension of football, the new campaign sees a congested schedule.
There are 13 rounds of midweek Championship games along the way, with some months seeing sides play eight or nine games.
It makes for a step into the unknown for all clubs, but Cooper insists there will be no excuses for anyone given the effects are the same for all 24 clubs.
“There will be some really busy periods through the season that can be defining in terms of picking up points to get to a certain level at the end of the season,” he added.
“It is an unknown period given the late start to the season. It’s a new experience for everybody around the team, staff and players, but we have to tackle it head on.
“We have not had a long pre-season, so we have to work hard to hit the ground running, but there are no excuses.
“We will not moan about things that are difficult, there is no advantage or disadvantage for anyone. It is what it is, and we have to stay focused and give everything we have from Saturday.”