Brighton excited to begin season at new stadium

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The Independent Football

Brighton's managing director Ken Brown has welcomed the club's opening-day npower Championship fixture against Doncaster with open arms.

The game will be the League One champions' first at their new American Express Community Stadium against the very opponents they faced when they played their last ever game at the Goldstone Ground in 1997.

"This is a great first fixture," Brown told his club's official website,

"Doncaster are a club with whom we have a fantastic rapport, and of course everyone knows the bond between Albion and Rovers fans.

"Just like the club's last game at the Goldstone it is sure to be an emotional day - but of course with very different emotions."

West Ham will start life under new manager Sam Allardyce at home to Cardiff, and co-owner David Gold is pleased to have landed the Bluebirds first up.

The Welsh outfit are hardened play-off campaigners and Gold feels they will provide a good test for the newly-relegated Hammers.

"We have to face the fact that we are in the Championship now," he told Sky Sports News.

"We have a fantastic challenge ahead and I'm quite pleased at having Cardiff. They were one of the big sides last year and we'll get a good idea of how we're going to do from that game.

"I'm pleased to have avoided the promoted clubs, including my friend Barry Fry at Peterborough. Those teams tend to over-perform in the early part of the season."

The Hammers also face Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Portsmouth inside the opening six games of the season and Gold admits that sequence could determine how good a squad Allardyce has assembled.

"We know we have a lot of work to do," he added.

"We knew it would be tough and you get a good feeling for where you are in the first three of four games. Have you brought in the right sort of players?

"Sam has a tough job bringing together a team that is going to challenge in the division."

Leeds start their campaign against League One runners-up Southampton and manager Simon Grayson expects Nigel Adkins' side to provide them with stiff opposition.

"Southampton have just come up and they will have momentum with them," he said.

"They will be looking to make an impression on the division.

"Then we have two local-ish derby matches with Middlesbrough and Hull. They are two sides who will be looking to go a stage better this season."