Three Championship opening-weekend storylines to follow

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1) Nigel Clough’s Nottingham Forest return

When Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was plucked from the Pirelli Stadium by Queens Park Rangers in December, Clough stepped in for his second stint as Burton manager.

Although he couldn’t maintain the top spot he inherited the side in, the silver medal he acquired ensured Albion will be playing second-tier football for the first time in their history this term.

Clough’s reward for the achievement is a trip to Nottingham Forest in the first match, where the 50-year-old made 311 league appearances as a player and his father won two European titles among a myriad of titles on the sidelines.

2) Brentford continuing their hot-streak

Only play-off losers Brighton finished last term’s regular season in better form than the Bees, who claimed 22 points from their final 10 outings and scored more goals than anybody else in the division in that time.

Sky Sports’ premier Football League talking head, Ian Holloway, put them down as relegation candidates in his predicted league table for the coming campaign. However, the Londoners could fling an early serving of egg across his face with a continuation of their home-straight form.

A trip to Huddesfield awaits them on the opening weekend, and we go 23/10 about an away win.

3) A goal-fest at Fulham

No team that remained in the Championship conceded more than Fulham last term, who also had the highest total-goals-per-game average during the campaign and satisfied Both Teams To Score backers most often.

It’s fair to say, then, that Cottagers’ matches were among the most entertaining for the neutral and shaking that tag will be a tough task on the opening weekend.

Second-tier behemoths Newcastle arrive in west London for the first match of the new season with a fearsome squad and a Champions League-winning manager.

We are 23/10 that the game contains over 3.5 goals.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.