Lee Bowyer's Birmingham City kicked off their season with an impressive 1-0 victory at Bramall Lane against recently relegated Sheffield United, with Maxime Colin scoring the games only goal to send the 2,700 travelling Blues fans into total delirium.
This is the third successive year that Birmingham have begun their season with a 1-0 win, and after the game, head coach Lee Bowyer said:
''I’m so pleased because with the outcome today because I was worried before the game–could my players handle the pressure of playing in front of a crowd like this?
''But we stood up to it and handled it really well. We limited them to half chances and deserved to win.”
Colchester United commenced their campaign with a scoreless draw away at Carlisle United, U's head coach Hayden Mullins said:
"The opener is always a tough one, especially with the fans back in and that extra buzz. I thought we managed the game really well and it was good to hear and see our fans back. The noise they made at times was very good."
Both head coaches look likely to rotate their squads heading into Tuesday's game, with fitness still fresh in the minds of Lee Bowyer and Hayden Mullins as players adjust to the demands of another EFL season.
Opportunities may be handed out to academy prospects of both sides, with Connal Trueman, Nico Gordon, Charlie Lakin, and Adan George likely to feature for Birmingham after playing regularly in Blues' pre-season campaign.
Loanees Dion Sanderson and Juan Castillo are set for starts, with Manchester United loanee Tahith Chong set to miss out after a slight hamstring tweak forced the Dutchman off in his MOTM performance against Sheffield United last Saturday.
Colchester may hand debuts to academy prospects Frankie Terry, Donell Thomas and Jake Hutchinson, with loanees Sylvester Jasper and Cameron Coxe also keen to impress their new boss.
Birmingham City: Trueman, Castillo, Gordon, Dean, Sanderson, Graham, Lakin, Šunjić, Sánchez, Aneke, Leko
Colchester United: Turner, Eastman, Chambers, Terry, Welch-Haynes, Kennedy, Skuse, Chilvers, Coxe, Nouble, Tovide
Ones to watch
Chuks Aneke made the move to Birmingham during the summer transfer window, joining up with Bowyer once more from Charlton Athletic, where the striker scored 16 goals in 58 games. Aneke looks set to make his debut on Tuesday, partnering former Charlton teammate Jonathan Leko up front. After 35 appearances, Leko is yet to score for Birmingham and is in desperate need of a goal to boost his confidence. Former teammate Aneke may bring this confidence and positivity which is needed, combining to cause a threat for the Colchester defence to deal with.
Returning for a third stint at the club, Freddie Sears is no stranger to Colchester United fans and is certainly a good addition to the team. Sears scored 31 goals in 102 appearances for the U's prior to re-joining the club from Ipswich Town this summer, and Tuesday provides the perfect chance for the striker to get off the mark this time round. Sears has scored twice in ten appearances against Birmingham, and the experienced striker will look to exploit a potentially young Birmingham backline on Tuesday.
Birmingham City have never lost to Colchester, and the two sides last meeting came in a 1-1 draw at Layer Road during the 2006/07 EFL Championship campaign, with Kem Izzet scoring for the hosts and Stephen Clemence replying for the visitors.
How to watch
The game will not be available to stream via iFollow in the UK this Saturday, as live streams for 15:00 BST kick-offs are no longer permitted. Tickets remain available for home and away fans whilst fans outside of the UK can watch via iFollow.