Date: 5th August 2015 at 4:24pm
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West Brom skipper Darren Fletcher is in an upbeat mood ahead of the Premier League opener against Manchester City on Monday.

With us hosting last season’s Premier League runner’s up at The Hawthorns in the 2015-16 opener in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday evening, Fletcher has told the Birmingham Mail that the lads go into the game with no fears at all as everybody is confident, but of course we know it will be a tough test.

Whether playing them on the opening day gives us an advantage or not though, we’ll know by 10pm.

‘They`re tough but you don`t know when it`s a good time to play one of the top teams. We`ve got Man City and Chelsea as our first two home games but sometimes it`s not a bad time to play these teams, they`ve been on all these long tours and are still finding their feet, still gelling together. And Monday night at The Hawthorns could be a good opportunity for us and might give us that slight percentage more of winning the match.’

As for the season overall though Fletcher is pretty down to earth on expectations saying that the first target has to be in getting to the 40 mark as quickly as we can, and doing that a lot earlier in the year than we managed last season.

Once we get there, depending on how the season looks and has gone by that point, then hopefully we’ll be in a position to be looking for a solid top ten finish and maybe even a domestic cup run to boot.

‘First and foremost you`ve got to get to 40 points, as quickly as you can. I think if you look at the Premier League and take away the top six or seven teams, I think every team has a minimum expectation of staying in the League and the higher you go you`ve got to finish in the top ten. For me, I would love to finish in the top ten and then push even higher.’

Giving Fletcher confidence that we can aim for that, he goes on to reference our form in the second half of the 2014-15 campaign when Tony Pulis had made his mark.

‘Our form towards the end of last season, from when I and the manager came here, we put together a great run of results and our points accumulated in that period was top ten form, if not higher. But you`ve got to do that over a long season. So the minimum is obviously staying in the League but no player wants to be happy just to finish 17th. You`ve got to aim higher and I`d love us to finish top ten and have a real good cup run.’

After the last few years a good solid top ten finish or at least around the midtable mark would be welcomed, and even in the early months of the campaign the more we can spend time looking up the table rather than down at the dropzone would give everyone a lift as well.

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