Birmingham City have brought in as many as 10 new players over the summer in a bid to improve on last season's 12th place finish in the Championship, and the debuts of centre-forward Lee Novak and goalkeeper Darren Randolph will be highly anticipated.

Lee Clark's team will be looking for a better start than they managed in 2012/13, as they failed to pick up a single win in any of their first three league games, and only a run of two defeats in their last 11 matches pulled them away from a potential relegation scrap.

Matt Green has a chance of being selected in attack, and Clark will be unveiling a new look team in front of the Blues home crowd.

Financial problems off the pitch hampered the team last season, but they will be feeling more confident coming into the first game of the new campaign after a busy summer, despite losing Nathan Redmond to Norwich City and Steven Caldwell to Toronto.

Watford will fancy their chances for promotion again this season after losing to Crystal Palace in the play-off final in May.

Having scored the most goals in the division last term, they have plenty of talent to follow that up, despite Matej Vydra returning to Udinese, who was top scorer last season with 20 league goals in his loan spell.

However, they have managed to retain the services of Joel Ekstrand, Ikechi Anya, Cristian Battocchio and Daniel Pudil on permanent deals, following a new ruling that now allows only five foreign loanees for any match-day squad.

The Hornets' 4-0 victory over the Blues at St. Andrew's last season will give them a lot of encouragement, as Troy Deeney's two goals helped them complete the double over tomorrow's opponents after a 2-0 win at Vicarage Rad earlier in the campaign.

Their record of having not lost their opening day fixture in four years could also stand them in good stead.


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