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Philippe Senderos today spoke of the competition for places in his position. For any centre half disloding breaking apart the excellent Hughes and Hangeland partnership at the back is a tough task but he is optimistic that the extra games the club will play in Europe will give him his opportunity:

“I’m ready to fight for my place. We’ve got great quality in the squad, good competition as well. That’s very important, we’re going to have plenty of games for everyone to shine. I want to work hard and with the help of everyone, be ready to fight for my place.”

After impressive performances against Birmingham, Sunderland and Arsenal towards the end of last season’s late surge up the table Senderos is hoping for more success this season under a new man:

“The new manager has tried to keep the same things, not change everything but obviously we try to play offensive football and I think we’re creating chances and it’s working quite well.

“I want to work hard and with the help of everyone, be ready to fight for my place. Hopefully another top ten finish would be fantastic for the boys and we always want to be better. I’m really looking forward to the season, looking forward to staying fit and helping the team to achieve its goals.”

As preperation continues for the match against RNK Split on Thursday Senderos is relishing the early start:

“We have to be competitive because we want to go through and reach the group stages. We’re working hard in training as well and it’s still part of the pre-season.

“It makes the squad closer, it gives an opportunity for the young players to play in a European competition, it’s not something given to everyone –it’s a great opportunity for these boys and for us to start the competitive games early. It gives us a little edge maybe for the start of the season.

“For me, every game is important, I try to go into the game with the same mentality and I want to win. Hopefully we can achieve our goals and go through to the group stages and that will be a great start to the season.”

A very talented player, Senderos was unfortunate to be injured for so long last season. On pure talent alone I would rate him higher than Aaron Hughes, although not necessarily a better partnership with Hangeland even though the signs suggest that there could be something good there, and had he not had the crisis of confidence he did at Arsenal I’m sure he’d be a starter there. Their loss is our gain however and now it is up to him to prove he deserves a place in our team.