We're all set for another thrilling season of Championship football this time around - get the latest fixtures for the English second tier here.
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There are some mouth-watering fixtures taking place in the Sky Bet Championship's opening weekend, not least on the Friday night as title favourites Newcastle United make the trip to the capital to take on former Premier League rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage.
On Saturday, second tier newcomers Burton Albion make the relatively short trip to Nottingham Forest to kick off their campaign whilst two of last season's play-off contenders face off at the iPro Stadium as Derby County welcome Brighton & Hove Albion.
On Sunday, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will welcome one of his old clubs Leeds United to Loftus Road whilst Aston Villa begin life in the second tier with a difficult trip to a Sheffield Wednesday side who lost out on promotion to the Premier League last season in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium.
Opening Weekend Fixtures:
Friday 5th August
Fulham v Newcastle
Saturday 6th August 2016
Birmingham City v Cardiff City
Blackburn Rovers v Norwich City
Bristol City v Wigan Athletic
Derby County v Brighton & Hove Albion
Huddersfield Town v Brentford
Ipswich Town v Barnsley
Nottingham Forest v Burton Albion
Reading v Preston North End
Rotherham v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sunday 7th August 2016
Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United
Sheffield Wednesday v Aston Villa
It’s bound to be an enthralling season of football in the second tier of the English pyramid once again this season. With a few huge clubs relegated from the Premier League last season and in Burton Albion a club competing at this level for the first time, there is sure to be plenty of drama once more as teams fight to get back in the big time or battle for survival in the second tier.
As always, the Football League season starts one week before the Premier League campaign. As such, the season starts on the weekend of the 6th August and runs until the 7th of May, two weeks before the Premier League season culminates.
The early favourites for the trophy are unsurprisingly Newcastle United. Having blitzed the second tier the last time they were relegated from the Premier League, the Magpies will have the biggest attendances, biggest budget and most famous manager in the Championship this term in the shape of former Real Madrid and Inter Milan boss Rafael Benitez.
Also looking to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt are Norwich City and Aston Villa. Villa’s new boss Roberto Di Matteo has experienced this division before, winning promotion with West Bromwich Albion earlier in his career and he’ll be looking to add some experience and quality to his squad before the season begins. Alex Neil at Norwich City will also be hoping to learn from last year’s relegation as he looks to take the Canaries up from the Championship for the second time in his career.
There will be plenty of other teams with their eyes on promotion this term too. Derby County have been on the verge of success in this tier for some time, whilst Brighton & Hove Albion and Sheffield Wednesday will both be looking to put the disappointment of last season’s play-off heartbreak behind them heading into the new campaign.
Newly promoted Burton Albion will be competing at this level for the first time in their history under the stewardship of Nigel Clough, the manager who got them promoted into the Football League for the first time. Wigan Athletic and Barnsley have more experience at this level, and they’ll need to make it count over the course of the season.