open training

Seb's opening-day excitement

by Stuart Vose

Larsson looking forward to curtain-raiser at the Stadium of Light.

Seb Larsson is looking forward to the rare experience of starting a brand-new campaign on home turf.

Sunderland welcome Fulham this weekend for the 2013-14 curtain-raiser with the Swedish midfielder hoping to retain his place having featured prominently during pre-season.

Larsson is more used to playing away from home on the first day and played against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light for Birmingham in the opening fixture of the 2010-11 season, which finished in a 2-2 draw.

“It’s pleasing to start at home; it’s certainly a long time since I’ve done that – at least five years ago,” he said.

“Hopefully we can get off to a good start in front of our home fans and get the season started.”

Tickets for the game remain on sale and, like the fans, Larsson recognises that the first game of a new season is a special occasion.

And he’s hoping Paolo Di Canio’s new-look side can cash in and get some early points on the board – though he knows opponents Fulham will provide a tough examination.

“That first game always has something about it,” he said. “The fans have waited a long time for the season to start and it’s the same for us players.

“There’s a lot of excitement to get started and see where you are and how you stand compared to other teams.

“It’s important to get off to a good start.”

Larsson added: “There’s no easy games. We know that if we go out and perform in the way we want to we have a good chance of doing well in the game.

“The Barclays Premier League is always tough – let’s wait and see what happens.”