Date: 15th September 2011 at 2:14pm
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Europa League Group H opens tonight and Birmingham City take on Braga at St Andrews with a kick off time of 8:05 pm.

But as Blues prepare for another hopefully memorable night in Europe, Chris Hughton admits that he could have done without the added burden of this Europa Cup game.

Hughton is worried about the amount of fixtures that Blues have in the run-up to Christmas, describing the list of games as ‘unforgiving.’

But he also stated that Blues were in the competition for a reason and they intend to enjoy things when they kick off against last season`s finalists in the competition.

‘Can it be a hindrance? Yes, it can be,’ said Hughton.

‘But if you looked at the atmosphere and what the players gave in the home (qualifying) game with Nacional to get us to this stage, I don’t think you would have seen it as a hindrance then.

‘Could we do without the extra games? Yes, arguably we could do, but we’re here, and once you’re in these games they are exciting to play in.’


Hughton also admits that games don`t come much harder than against the number one seeds Braga.

‘They’ve great quality, no doubt about it,’ added Hughton.

‘They are the favourites because of where they’ve been in recent seasons, and more so last season, so we are very conscious of that.’

As far as the team goes, Hughton will again be without striker Nikola Zigic who is still suffering with a groin problem, (groin), but Marlon King is available despite missing training.

Thursday night’s match will be the first time the two sides have met.