West Brom manager Steve Clarke says he is happy with a home fixture against Southampton to start the club's 2013-14 Premier League campaign.
West Brom won both meetings against Southampton last season, a campaign in which they exceeded all expectations and finished eighth in the top-flight.
Repeating their efforts will be no easy feat but a home match against Mauricio Pochettino's side gives the Hawthorns outfit the perfect chance to hit the ground running.
And Clarke says it is vital his side begin with a win against a Southampton side who have already signalled their intent in the off-season with the capture of Croatian defender Dejan Lovren, who signed for the club for a rumoured eight million pounds, last week.
"It's always nice to start the season at home so I'm pleased with that," Clarke told the club's official website.
"Every game in the Premier League is a big challenge – there are no easy games – and it won't be any different this season. We took six points off Southampton last season and hopefully that run can continue – but we had to work very hard for those wins.
"Southampton spent big 12 months ago and it looks as though this summer won't be any different.
"They have already splashed the cash to sign a defender and they're one of the teams that will be looking to improve on last season and finish above us."
Next up for West Brom will be a trip to Everton, on the weekend of August 24 - 25, in what will be new manager Roberto Martinez's first home fixture, before Swansea City visit the Hawthorns the week after.
"Everton will be especially tough as it will be Roberto Martinez's first home game since replacing David Moyes as manager," he said.
"But it's a good challenge and one we will relish when the game comes around. Swansea finished one place below us in ninth last season and, along with ourselves, were probably the surprise package. It should be a good football game."
|Coach: S. Clarke|
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