Palace defender Peter Ramage says he is “champing at the bit” to get the 2013/14 season underway, after the Barclays Premier League fixtures were released this morning.
The Eagles were handed a home match against Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day, with trips to Manchester United and Liverpool also on the cards within the first two months of the season.
Ramage, who has a wealth of Premier League experience after spells with Newcastle and QPR, said: “I was up like a little kid at 6.30 this morning – I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about the fixtures! I just thought ‘oh I’m going to get up’ and watched Sky Sports until they came out.
“It’s three really good fixtures for us to start with – Tottenham obviously at home, Stoke away and then Sunderland at home. They are proper Premier League fixtures, so it kind of hit home then that we are Premier League.”
The North Tyneside man admits that the first match he looked out for on the fixture list was the trip to St James’ Park, for an emotional return to his boyhood club, Newcastle.
“That was the first game I looked for, I must admit,” Ramage said. “On the 21st December we obviously have them at Selhurst. Everybody at home has been wishing us well, apart from that fixture of course, but they will be nice games to look forward to.
“It’s my sister’s birthday on the 23rd March, so hopefully we can go up there and spend it with a win, that would be nice for me, not for her!
“Hopefully we can just do ourselves justice there and throughout the season.
“To be honest it’s going to be hard for no matter who we play, whether it’s home or away. They are all going to be tough fixtures. We’re not going into it blind thinking ‘we will pick up points here, we will pick up points there’, we just have to take every game as it comes.
“They are all tough games. They aren’t games that you can look at and say ‘that’s a nailed on three points’. We’ll just try and do what we did last year with our home games and make Selhurst a bit of a fortress and nick the odd result away from home.”
The versatile 29-year-old, who signed a new two-year deal with the Eagles following their return to English football’s top flight, feels the club have what it takes to survive in the Premier League for the first time in their history.
He added: “We’ve got as good a chance as any other team that’s gone up. Everyone expects the three that have come up to go down. You’ve just got to take every game as it comes, go out and put in the performances and as long as that’s good enough for the supporters and the manager, hopefully that will be good enough to get you the result on the day.
“It’s going to be tough. We are under no illusions because there are no easy games. But hopefully we can pick up results and stay in the division.
“If someone was to offer us 17th, I think most people would snap their hands off now. That will be the target but if we can go higher, that’s a bonus.
“But I’m just champing at the bit to get going now. It’s the Premier League. To have that badge on your arm means everything to a footballer. It’s where I always dreamed about playing and I’ve been fortunate enough to play quite a few games there and now that I’m back I’ll be doing everything I can to get in that team against Spurs.
“I’ve been ticking over, going to the gym regularly and making sure I give myself the best possible opportunity to be in that eleven come 17th August.”