By Tony Leighton
Birmingham City's Lee Clark heads into his debut as an npower Championship manager hoping his "scouting for fun" policy can help his team to follow up their 5-1 Capital One Cup win against League 2 Barnet with a similar result at home to newly promoted Charlton Athletic and then a successful tilt at promotion.
Clark knows the Addicks well having come up against them on a number of occasions in League 1 when he was in charge of Huddersfield Town, who he twice led to the Play-Offs before his dismissal in February and subsequent appointment at St Andrew's following the close season departure of Chris Hughton to Norwich City.
But knowing Charlton as well as he does is just part of what the new Blues says is his encyclopaedic knowledge of clubs all around the League system. Clark said: "I scout for fun and I know every team that we'll be coming up against.
"I was lucky enough as a young coach and manager to attend seminars where some of the top managers in the country came and talked, and one thing they always said was to go out and see as many games as possible to assess teams and watch potential signings - and that's what I do.
"I always know the opposition and I know that Charlton will come to St Andrew's and have a right go at us, so we'll have to be right at it from the first whistle. Chris [manager Powell] has done a magnificent job there and they will enjoy coming here.
"Other teams will enjoy coming here as well, but we want to make this place a fortress. We have to make it tough for teams to come and play here and I believe we can certainly do that with the quality of our players.
"I inherited a fantastic squad, but we've added to that and I've got total belief in them. The lads should also have total belief in themselves because they are all very good players, as they showed in the second half in particular against Barnet.
"But I'm under no illusions about the task we face in the Championship, which is going to be very tough. There are 18 clubs in the division who've been in the Premier League at one time or another, so that tells you how difficult it will be.
"But it also tells you how exciting it's going to be. There's a lot of clubs who'll think they can be one of the three teams that get promoted and everyone will be starting positively. There are some terrific stadiums with great atmospheres to go to and some great games to look forward to - and I for one am thoroughly looking forward to it."
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