3 thrilling opening-day Football League fixtures to watch out for
Forget Euro 2016. It’s all about the Football League, as the fixtures for the 2016/17 season were finally released to a pack of eagerly-awaiting fans.
All the way through the pyramid there are storylines to capture the imagination this season.
Former top-flight giants Aston Villa and Newcastle are in the Championship, the new and old Dons will share the same division for the first time and Grimsby Town are back in League Two after a six-year absence.
Looking solely at the season’s opening day though, the fixture computer managed to cough out a couple of humdingers. Here’s a roundup of three of them:
Bolton Wanderers v Sheffield United – League One
The last time this pair tussled in a league encounter was in the then-Premiership in 2007. How times have changed.
After suffering relegation from the second tier last term, the Trotters will play their football in League One for the first time since 1993.
They’ll hope to escape the division far quicker than their opening-day opponents though, who embark on their sixth successive campaign in it.
1905 – Bolton and Sheffield United have met on the opening day once before, in September 1905 (2-1 to Sheffield United). Clash.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 22, 2016
Derby v Brighton – Championship
These two were both Championship play-off losers last season and will be aiming to repair the wounds of their semi-final defeats with automatic promotion this time around.
Those ambitions couldn’t really get off to a tougher start. Both battles ended all square last season and new Derby manager Nigel Pearson will be immediately tested against Chris Hughton’s well-oiled Brighton outfit.
Accrington Stanley v Doncaster Rovers – League Two
Rovers’ reward for dropping into the Football League’s basement is a trip to the side that finished last term in the highest position without achieving promotion.
It’ll be an early return to the Wham Stadium for new Doncaster pair Ross Etheridge and Joe Wright, both of whom helped Stanley reach the play-offs last term, before signing for Darren Ferguson’s side in the summer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.