Bruno wants Sami Hyypia's Albion to hit the ground running in the Championship.

And the shape of the fixture list has given the Seagulls, under their third manager in as many seasons, a chance of delivering Bruno's wish.

The experienced Spanish right-back, who has just signed a new one-year contract, said: "We know it will be a very tough league once again.

"Leicester had a strong start last season and went on to win the league, so that has to be our aim for pre-season, to get off to a good start."

Getting off to a flyer is not essential to succeed in one of the most competitive divisions, if not the most competitive, in world football, but it certainly helps.

Leicester had lost only once by October on their way to the title.

They had their first dip in form in late November and early December, including a defeat at the Amex, but the points they already had in the bag cushioned the setbacks.

Burnley, who finished runners-up, suffered their only defeat in their first 16 league games at the Amex at the end of August.

It was a similar story in 2012-13. Champions Cardiff won seven of their first ten matches. Runners-up Hull took 13 points from a possible 18.

There is always an exception to the rule. Reading came from nowhere in 2011-12 to end on top.

They hardly started like a house on fire, but then again no real damage was done by their beginning.

They were hard to beat, winning four, losing four and drawing six of their first 14 outings.

Reading's closest pursuers, Southampton, won six of their first seven games.

The underlying message is if you want to be genuine contenders for automatic promotion then it does not pay to be slow out of the blocks.

That was the case for Albion under Oscar Garcia last season, although that was hardly surprising.

Preparations had been disrupted and delayed by the saga of Gus Poyet's dismissal.

They lost their first three matches in all competitions, but looking back now at the way the season panned out, they made a reasonable fist of a tough opening.

Burnley, third-placed Derby County, play-off winners Queens Park Rangers and play-off near-misses Reading were among the first seven opponents.

Until the table develops it is difficult to know whether Hyypia faces a kind introduction to life in the Championship or a baptism of fire. On paper at least though it is the former.

Albion's first five games are Sheffield Wednesday at home, Birmingham away, Leeds away, Bolton at home, Charlton at home.

These teams finished 16th, 21st, 15th, 14th and 18th last season. They might all improve this time around, but Hyypia is sure to be hoping for a healthy haul of points by the end of October.

Other opponents in Albion's opening 14 fixtures include promoted Brentford and Rotherham and a home game against Blackpool, another of last season's strugglers.

Motivation for a flying start is heightened by the punishing schedule awaiting Albion in November and December.

Wigan, Blackburn, Fulham and Reading visit the Amex in this period, combined with testing trips to Bournemouth, Norwich, Derby, Wolves and Fulham.

After that little lot we should have a clearer idea of where Hyypia's Albion are heading.