Bryan Robson has lamented the proliferation of derbies that could make life more difficult for West Bromwich Albion in the Coca-Cola Championship this season.
Albion will play six matches against local rivals - two each against Birmingham City, Coventry City and Wolverhampton Wanderers - in 2006-07 and Robson is aware that such encounters usually end up in draws.
If that happens, the dropped points could cost Albion dearly next spring.
The four West Midlands clubs are among the favourites for promotion to the Premier-ship, which provides an added twist.
Robson, the Albion manager, is bidding to lead Albion back into the Premiership after the disappointment of relegation last season.
"The number of derbies can be a hindrance as there is just that little bit more passion in those games," Robson said. "There are a lot of draws in derby games and that is the way it works. We are going to have to be right at our best to pick up points in those games. It does make it tougher.
"The London clubs have always blamed the derby games as it adds a bit extra. Especially if the opposition hasn't had as much success as your team as they seem to rise to the challenge even more."
Robson endured relegation as manager of Middlesbrough in 1997 but twice he steered the club back into the Premiership. He knows better than most the vagaries of life in the Championship but he intends to put that experience to good use.
Albion have a small but talented squad and are expected to finish somewhere in the top six in what is likely to be the most competitive fight for promotion of all the Football League divisions.
"I feel just the same as when I got relegated with Middlesbrough," Robson said. "I want to bounce straight back and the players need to be focused on that. If these players go about it with the right attitidue then we have a good chacne as anyone else.
"I think Birmingham will be there and you look at other teams who have spent decent money like Leeds and Derby. You cannot discount anyone as there are always about seven or eight teams who will come out of nowhere and give you a challenge.
"Hull City are a big set-up and they have kept adding to good players within their squad and they could be there or thereabouts. Cardiff have changed it aorund with people like Chopra but you can't dis-count anyone."
Just as Robson has enjoyed promotion to the Premiership twice, so, too, have Albion. They gained promotion in 2002 and 2004, but were relegated in 2003 and 2006. They have become the perennial yo-yo club - always fighting for promotion or against relegation - and the 2006-07 campaign is unlikely to be different. * Kevin Campbell is poised to sign for Cardiff City today. Albion released the 36-year-old in the summer after failing to agree a new deal and the striker has been linked with numerous clubs.
However, it appears former Wolves boss Dave Jones has secured his services and Campbell could line up against Albion in the second game of the campaign at Ninian Park.