Football: Rovers on tour

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The Independent Online
KENNY DALGLISH will make his return to top-flight football in London SE25 on Saturday 15 August, when his Blackburn Rovers side travel to Selhurst Park to meet Crystal Palace on the first day of the new FA Premier League.

Dalglish, whose last game as a manager in England's top division was a Merseyside derby in February 1991, has to wait until 12 December for the season's first encounter with his former club, Liverpool, at Anfield. However, the Ewood Park fans have two attractive home games with which to launch the Premier League in east Lancashire: against Arsenal on Tuesday 18 August and Manchester City the following Saturday.

Leeds United, the reigning champions, start at home to Wimbledon. Arsenal, the bookies' favourites to take the first Premier League title, kick-off against Norwich at Highbury. Liverpool have perhaps the most attractive fixture: at Nottingham Forest.

There was some good news for Graham Taylor, the England manager. With four Saturdays prior to World Cup qualifying fixtures left without Premier League games, he might manage to avoid the injury problems that plagued his European Championship plans.

The Barclays League also starts on 15 August, by which time clubs like Brentford and Peterborough might be used to their new status as members of the First Division, in which David Pleat takes Luton to his previous club, Leicester. Colchester, back in the League, entertain Lincoln in the bottom (now Third) Division.

After two years' exile in Macclesfield, Chester City will be playing Second Division football at their new Bumpers Lane ground, which (injury and postponements allowing) will be the venue for a special occasion on 27 February, when Plymouth Argyle visit: Peter Shilton's 1,000th League game.

FA PREMIER LEAGUE: 1992/93 OPENING DAY FIXTURES (Saturday 15 August): Arsenal v Norwich; Chelsea v Oldham; Coventry v Middlesbrough; Crystal Palace v Blackburn; Everton v Sheffield Wednesday; Ipswich v Aston Villa; Leeds v Wimbledon; Manchester City v QPR; Nottingham Forest v Liverpool; Sheffield United v Manchester United; Southampton v Tottenham.

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