Alan Curbishley believes West Ham's opening fixtures can allow them to make a fast start to life back in the Premier League.
The Hammers ensured an immediate return to the top flight by beating Blackpool in the Championship play-off final at the end of May.
Sam Allardyce's men will entertain Aston Villa on the first day of the 2012/13 campaign before clashes with Swansea, Norwich, Fulham, Sunderland and QPR.
And Curbishley, who played for the Irons during the 1970s and managed the club between 2006-08, feels the Londoners can garner some early points.
"No disrespect to the other teams but [West Ham] will be looking at that thinking: 'We have got an opportunity if we start right'," said Curbishley.
"A newly-promoted side comes into the Premier League a little bit unknown and you can take advantage of that."
Southampton are returning to the elite division after a seven-year absence, but have been a handed a daunting clutch of fixtures to kick off their campaign.
The Saints will venture to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on the opening afternoon, while they will also tackle Manchester United and Arsenal during their first four matches.
"You look at the first three or four games and they have obviously got the toughest start of all the Premier League teams," Curbishley said of the south-coast outfit.
"As a newly-promoted side you look up and down that fixture list and pick out clumps of games and that is going to be a difficult run, but the fixture list always has the knack of throwing up two or three tough games on the spin."
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