Reaction as Premier League fixtures are released

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The Independent Online

Neil Warnock assessed Queens Park Rangers' Barclays Premier League fixtures this morning and said: "It's just fabulous to be involved."

The west London side start their campaign against Bolton on August 13 and Warnock said: "When you see the fixtures it's so exciting. It doesn't matter who you play, the Premier League is where we all want to be. It's just fabulous to be involved."

On his team's own prospects, the QPR boss added on Sky Sports News: "I think the thing is to try to play without fear.

"We know we're going to have one or two defeats but it's how you bounce back - and our home record's always been good.

"I'm really glad I'm in the Premier League and I've got to make sure whoever plays us it's difficult for them."

On his squad, he explained: "The lads that took us up deserve a chance - but I've got to get the right players to make the team better.

"It's difficult at the moment but I'm going to persevere.

"I've spoken to (Blackpool manager) Ian Holloway and he thought where he made a mistake was not getting a squad big enough by the end of August and we don't want to make that mistake if we can help it."

On the top flight, Warnock added: "For West Ham to go down with the team they had I find incredible. The league is the tightest it's ever been and for Manchester United to only win five games away from home...you know everyone's in with a shout.

"It's great when teams don't walk away with it. It's going to be very close and very exciting."

Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins is also looking forward to Premier League football.

The Swans start with a trip to Manchester City, before home games against Wigan and Sunderland.

Jenkins said: "We are looking forward to it...the main thing is to be competitive.

"Everyone talks about a good start but it's a long season and you've got to be consistent.

"The aim is to keep the club moving forward and luckily we've got an opportunity to do that."

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has been handed the earliest possible reunion with former club Sunderland and Black Cats boss Steve Bruce told his club's official website, www.safc.com: "Anfield is always a tough place to go, but we have acquitted ourselves well against the big boys in the past and going there is a test I will relish.

"Then it doesn't get much bigger than a derby game on the first home date of the season.

"It's a difficult start, but everyone is hard at work putting the pieces into place to ensure we have the best squad possible for when the first ball is kicked."

Like Warnock, Norwich chief executive David McNally was largely unconcerned by the order of the fixtures and was just thrilled to be in the top flight.

The Canaries start their campaign at Wigan but McNally told Sky Sports News: "I'm just delighted for the fans that they are enjoying the fixtures for the Premier League.

"All the games are tough, Wigan away is a hard game but one we relish and look forward to.

"We could have played Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in the first four and we'd be as thrilled as we are with the fixtures as they stand.

"We're delighted with the start but we would have been however the fixtures had fallen.

"Our fans can't wait, we've had to cap season tickets for this year and we don't have many tickets left to sell for any fixture this year."

On their aims for the season, he added: "The challenge is to earn the right to stay in the league.

"It's about getting points across the course of the season, finishing 17th or better and earning the right to stay in the league.

"The only target is to stay in the league, 17th will be absolutely fine. Whatever points total is needed to finish 17th, that's the aim."

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told Liverpoolfc.tv: "It's a massive test early on. It's nice to have a home game first.

"Hopefully we will have a few new signings in and we can start the season with three points which would give us the confidence to then go and get a good result at Arsenal. That is a difficult place to go and we haven't won there for a while.

"It's important to hit the ground running if you want to compete for the title. You can't afford any slip-ups early on.

"It's a tough first two games but I'm really looking forward to them and I think we can get two positive results."

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