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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, August 2nd 2018

'Chance to put our hard work into practice'

Marlon Pack is looking forward to following up a strong pre-season with a winning start to the new campaign.

The central midfielder has reflected on City's summer as he relishes the visit of Nottingham Forest to Ashton Gate for the 2018/19 season opener on Saturday (August 4th, 3pm kick-off).

"All that hard work, those stressful nights of sleep where you wonder what you’re going to be doing the next day in pre-season are all worth it," he told bcfc.co.uk.

"There’s a lot of excitement around the camp, ahead of the first game on Saturday.

"I think it [pre-season] has gone really well. We have taken on board everything that has been asked of us by the gaffer [Lee Johnson], in terms of playing style, and working on our pressing from last year."

City's pre-season started with a charity-minded day out to Bitton AFC, before they faced Cheltenham Town in the return of the 'Johnson Cup', Shrewsbury Town in BS3, a warm weather training regime in Marbella and an impressive home display against AFC Bournemouth.

"We haven’t secured the wins people might have expected but I think our performances have been really good and we can take that into the season.

"The main thing is the gaffer has decided what we needed to work on and he’s brought those elements into pre-season and the boys have taken it in well. Now, with the new season here, we need to put that all into practice."

Pack, who put pen to paper on a new contract in July, said the optimism levels at the club are high, with the new campaign just days away.

"Everyone is buzzing," he continued.

"The later it gets in the week, it becomes more real but this is what pre-season all comes down to; all that hard work, excitement of coming back builds for this first game. It has come around quickly but for me personally, I know we can’t wait to get started and hopefully we’ll start the season on Saturday with three points."

So what does he expect from Aitor Karanka's Nottingham Forest?

Johnson's side were unbeaten against Forest last year, with Pack helping City to a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture last December and Frank Fielding's penalty heroics earned a draw at the City Ground back in April.

While the Robins have recruited well - seven additions at the time of writing - Karanka has introduced new faces too, including the 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship's Golden Boot runner-up Lewis Grabban and former City keeper Luke Steele.

Pack said: "It’s a hard one to gauge but they have had a good transfer window on paper. It will be interesting to see how they fare but of course it will be a tough game.

"Playing them at the City Ground back in April, you could see the patterns and style of play they want to play under Karanka. So we expect a really tough test, they have quality players but it’s one we are looking forward to."

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