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And off we go...

8 August 2014

Nigel Clough believes Bristol City are as equally well equipped as the Blades to mount a promotion challenge this season.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet League One opener against the Robins, Clough has paid tribute to the work City boss Steve Cotterill has done in the transfer market during the close season and the Blades boss certainly expects both Clubs to be at the right end of the division this time around.

He remarked: "Their recruitment this summer has been excellent and they finished last season in the league as good as we did, if not better, after their defeat at Bramall Lane.

"Bristol City have gone under the radar this summer, they deserve a favourites tag too, they will as tough as they come first up and beyond.

"They have signed three or four very good players for this level in Wade Elliott, Korey Smith, Luke Freeman and Luke Ayling, not to mention the adding the experience of Aaron Wilbraham up front.

"I expect both teams to be in the top six at the very least come the end of the season, but there will be 22 other teams with something to say about that."

The Blades boss believes United's opening handful of fixtures will give them a good indicator on the division, but insists nothing is won or lost in August.

He concluded: "We have been handed a very tough start, we face Coventry and Peterborough away after Saturday so it won't get any easier.

"It will give us a taste of what the likely contenders have to offer. We want a good solid start, that is the plan and has been throughout pre-season.

"But even if we were to lose the first three matches, there are 43 games to go after that and we saw last season where a strong finish can take you."

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