x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Premier League: Cardiff City's top-flight return will include a healthy Mark Hudson

Stoke City start at Liverpool and assistant manager Mark Bowen says the preparation starts now for the upcoming English Premier League season.

Peter Whittingham and his Cardiff City teammates will open the season with West Ham United. Paul Ellis / AFP
Peter Whittingham and his Cardiff City teammates will open the season with West Ham United. Paul Ellis / AFP

Cardiff City's Mark Hudson said the first Welsh derby in the Premier League will be "massive", and said he will be fit for their first campaign in the top flight.

The captain missed the end of the Championship-winning Cardiff season because of ankle trouble, but said he is looking forward to being on the pitch for the opener with West Ham United.

"I'm back running now," he said. "I've been in the last 10 days and I will be ready to start when everyone else is back in."

He told Sky Sports News: "I'm an Everton fan and we've got them in the third game so I'm really looking forward to that one."

On the November 2 visit of Swansea, he added: "It's going to be massive to have that derby in the top league. We've been waiting a long time for this, for sure. It's really starting to sink in now. We're a great group, we'll stick together and won't get carried away. We will work to get things right on the training field and look forward to the season."

Meanwhile, Stoke City start at Liverpool and Mark Bowen, the assistant to manager Mark Hughes, said: "The preparation starts now.

"We want to push things forward and see where we can take the club over the next few years. Mark will be looking to meet the squad and assess them very quickly.

"It's a stable squad which has been around mid-table for the last few years, so it doesn't need much work doing on it."

English Premier League fixtures to watch in 2013/14

Manchester United v Chelsea, August 24
David Moyes’s first Premier League home game at Old Trafford is against Jose Mourinho’s men on the second weekend of the season. Both meetings of these teams ended in away wins in 2012/13.

Manchester City v Manchester United, September 22
Fans of the Manchester duo had to wait nearly four months for the first derby last season; this time only four weeks will lapse before City and the new coach Manuel Pellegrini clash with United.

Cardiff City v Swansea City, November 2
The Premier League’s first Welsh derby. Cardiff City’s Championship-winning campaign was built on the best home record in the league. Michael Laudrup’s League Cup winners will provide tough opposition.

Arsenal v Chelsea, December 21
Chelsea did the double over their London rivals last season, but Arsenal finished the season strongly and Arsene Wenger has been promised investment to strengthen his squad. A mouth-watering match is in prospect at Emirates Stadium.

Liverpool v Everton, January 28
Everton manager Roberto Martinez will be hoping for better luck in derby matches than predecessor David Moyes had. Both teams are hoping to end their European exile, and three points from this game could prove decisive at the end of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal, March 15
These sides have failed to disappoint when facing each other recently; the past six North London derbies have yielded 31 goals.

Crystal Palace v Liverpool, May 3
The penultimate week of the season sees a fixture which could be key at both ends of the table. When this game takes place, it will be more than nine years since the teams last met in London in the Premier League.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE