Danns' 'strange feeling' comes true

FORMER Colchester United star Neil Danns had a “strange feeling” that he would meet his old team-mates on the opening day of the season, and so it has proved.

By Carl Marston

FORMER Colchester United star Neil Danns had a “strange feeling” that he would meet his old team-mates on the opening day of the season, and so it has proved.

The newly-promoted U's begin life in the Championship with a visit to Birmingham City on Saturday, August 5. Danns left Layer Road to join the Blues for an initial £500,000 last week.

This will be the first season that Colchester have ever competed in the second tier of the Football League.

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A few of the many other highlights, following yesterday's publication of the 2006-07 fixture-list, include Layer Road visits from East Anglian rivals Ipswich on September 30 and Southend on November 25.

U's supporters will also be looking forward to mouth-watering trips to the likes of Leeds United on November 11 and Sunderland just a week later.

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But for the moment, attention is fixed on a quick-fire reunion with Danns at St Andrews. The 23-year-old netted 16 goals in the U's successful promotion campaign last term.

“It was destiny that we (Birmingham) should be playing Colchester at home on the first day of the season. I felt it in my bones,” revealed Danns yesterday. “It's a nice bonus to be playing my old team so soon. I had a strange feeling about it, and I'm sure it will feel strange for me to play against the lads I have been so close to for the previous two years.

“Of course I have to be professional, and to help Birmingham to get three points off Colchester. In an ideal world, I'd like us to win the title and Colchester to finish second!

“I'm over-the-moon that Colchester will be our first opponents.

“First of all I have to impress in pre-season and so get into the side. That won't be easy, because there are many quality players at the club.

“I'm quite glad we are meeting my old team so soon, because there would always have been a big build-up. I wish Colchester all the best, but not for the first day!

“It will feel weird playing in front of the Colchester fans.

“They're usually cheering me on, but it will be different this time. I'll always have a soft spot for the club,” added Danns.

Phil Parkinson, who resigned as Colchester United manager on June 14, remains the favourite to be appointed the new boss at Hull City. The U's are set to entertain the Tigers on November 28, and visit the KC Stadium on April 14.

Ipswich Town will entertain Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season, before facing two awkward away trips to Wolves and Leicester.

Town's two games against rivals Norwich City are scheduled for November 18 (at Portman Road) and April 21 (Carrow Road).

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