Six Nations 2014: Joe Schmidt laments six-day turnaround
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt hopes the six-day turnaround between his side's first two Six Nations matches in Dublin will not harm their championship hopes.
Scotland visit the Aviva Stadium on Sunday 2 February, followed by a clash with champions Wales on 8 February.
"The six-day turnaround is a really big ask," said Schmidt. "You just have to get on with it.
"We'll only have one real training session that week so we'll have to make it count."
He added: "It's unfortunate that we're not going to get a great run-in to a game against a great team like Wales, especially after facing a combative outfit like Scotland."
Schmidt believes a flawless Dublin record and one win against France or England away from home could catapult Ireland into championship contention after a disappointing campaign last year.
Ireland's Six Nations fixtures
- 2 Feb: Scotland (H)
- 8 Feb: Wales (H)
- 22 Feb: England (A)
- 8 March: Italy (H)
- 15 March: France (A)
"If we could defend the Aviva that would be great," said the former Leinster coach ahead of his first Six Nations at the helm.
"If we manage an away victory against either England or France as well, then that would put us in the mix for a shot at being in the top two.
"That would be a fantastic achievement given where we've come from, but that's not to say that's our clear expectation. We know we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us."
The Kiwi admitted Ireland's heartbreaking 24-22 last-play defeat to world champions New Zealand in November has been a "recurring nightmare" for him personally.
The former schoolteacher is confident his players have moved quickly past that autumn frustration, however.
"We managed to move past it pretty quickly when we met up again ahead of Christmas," said Schmidt.
"It's been a bit of a recurring nightmare for me, however, because it's the first time I've had this experience as a national coach.
"In the past I have always had the next week to get a game out of my system, and my team too. So adapting to that change has been a different process for me.
"The players are in good shape though, and now we're just excited about the challenges ahead in the competition."