Blues legend David Unsworth is confident Roberto Martinez can get his reign as manager of Everton off to a positive start.
The Toffees begin the new season away at Norwich City before entertaining West Bromwich Albion – a team who have tasted defeat on their last three visits to Goodison Park – on the second weekend of the campaign.
A first ever trip to the Cardiff City Stadium to play the newly-promoted Bluebirds then follows on Saturday 31 August.
And Unsworth, who famously kick-started the David Moyes era with a first-minute goal in a 2-1 win over Fulham in 2002, says Martinez will be confident he can build some early-season momentum.
“They are great fixtures,” Unsworth told evertonfc.com. “There isn’t a too high profile game and that should allow Roberto to find his feet. I think it’s a good start for Everton and I think the fixtures have come up kind.
“Without being disrespectful to Norwich, West Brom and Cardiff, these are three games that this Everton team, when firing on all cylinders, should win.
“I’m sure Roberto will be thinking he is happy with that, that his team can compete at Norwich and Cardiff and maybe get maximum points.
“Those first three games are decent and if you can take seven points out of those matches going into the Chelsea game [at the start of September], I think that would be a great return.
“If you are a Chelsea player coming to Goodison after three games and Everton have got off to a good start, they will not find it an easy afternoon. It will be very tough.
“Any team Everton play at home, I expect us to win because we are formidable at Goodison Park.”
Chelsea were the only away team to take maximum points at Goodison in the league last season as the Blues secured a top-six finish for the second successive year.
Unsworth expects Everton to again be challenging in the upper reaches of the table this term and believes shrewd business in the transfer market could see them break into the coveted European qualification positions.
“Whoever was to get the Everton job was inheriting a team that was successful,” explained Unsworth, who amassed over 300 appearances for the Blues in two separate spells.
“It’s a small squad but sometimes that means there is a tight-knit group and that is what Everton have got.
“The players are together and sometimes one or two signings can make the difference from a team that is doing really well to a team that is doing excellently.
“I remember in the mid-eighties when Andy Gray came in – one or two little changes here and there can make all the difference.”