AFTER an international lay-off it’s good to see the fixture computer was kind to us on our return to league action this weekend!

A trip to Manchester City, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, given the fact that every year we’ve been in the Premier League we’ve managed to beat the reigning champions – and don’t actually have the worst record at the Etihad – could Saturday be the shock we need to kick-start our season?

Of course I’m being flippant – or maybe over-optimistic! – but a game at one of the big clubs is always a bit of a free hit.

No-one expects you to get anything so you’ve got nothing to lose.

I just hope the players play with the freedom we know they’re capable of because if we try and dictate the tempo then we’re a match for most teams.

OK, I know City have an absolute galaxy of stars but teams have been able to frustrate them in the past – including us – and like most ‘big’ teams they don’t like it up ‘em!

There’s been lots of talk of fog, lacking fluidity and not hitting our rhythm so far this season but you’d think that will change at some point.

I said the other week that the run of games coming up is tough and with Chelsea at home the following week, any kind of positive result in east Manchester would be most welcome.

Raheem Sterling looked in fantastic form as England tore Spain apart on Monday but the problem Sean Dyche and his team has is working out which of the City stars will pose the most danger.

Whatever happens, we need to be a heck of a lot sharper than we were against Huddersfield at the Turf the other week.

In every area of the pitch we need to see a marked improvement because the levels we’re hitting at the minute aren’t quite good enough.

I don’t think we’re in too much danger – famous last words! – but only because I think there’s far worse teams than us in this division on paper.

But we know that football isn’t played on paper and unless we pull our socks up then we could get dragged into a battle that nobody wants to be in.