Championship fixture list unveiled: QPR begin at home against Sheffield Wednesday
The Hoops are looking to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Harry Redknapp's rebuilding mission at QPR will start on August 3 when Sheffield Wednesday visit Loftus Road on the first day of the new Championship season.
Rangers are spending the summer licking their wounds after their high-profile relegation from the Premier League, and Redknapp has warned his big-name players they need to be ready for the second-tier's 46-game slog.
That will begin against Dave Jones' Wednesday, followed by a trip to Huddersfield a week later and then a home meeting with Ipswich.
Owen Coyle's first game in charge of Wigan will take him to Oakwell for a meeting with Barnsley. Coyle took the job this week after Roberto Martinez left the relegated FA Cup winners for Everton.
The other side to have dropped into the Championship, Reading, host Ipswich, with manager Nigel Adkins set to try and win a fifth promotion.
Play-off final losers Watford - who will be be adapting to the new overseas loan rule - start at Birmingham, while defeated semi-finalists Brighton and Leicester are away to Leeds and Middlesbrough respectively.
League 1 champions Doncaster kick off their second-tier return at home to Paul Ince's Blackpool, runners-up Bournemouth are at home to Charlton and play-off winners Yeovil head to Millwall for Steve Lomas' first game in charge.
The remaining opening-day games feature two of the Football League's 125th anniversary games - Burnley at home to Bolton and Blackburn at Derby - plus Nottingham Forest's hosting of Huddersfield.
As well as QPR's trip to Huddersfield, the second weekend includes other intriguing match-ups such as Reading's visit to Dougie Freedman's highly-fancied Bolton and Yeovil's first home game against Birmingham.
The busy Christmas period sees a handful of short-haul trips, with Bolton going to Barnsley on Boxing Day, while Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds head over the Pennines for games with Blackburn and Blackpool.
Bournemouth and Yeovil play-off for local bragging rights, Huddersfield take on Derby, Watford welcome Millwall and Charlton face Brighton. Other December 26 fixtures are Doncaster against Ipswich, Leicester against Reading, Middlesbrough at home to Burnley, QPR at Nottingham Forest and Wigan at home to Birmingham.
The new year is brought in with a full programme - the pick of which is Reading at home to Nottingham Forest - before the league takes a break for the FA Cup.
As it did last season, on a memorable and breathtaking final day, the campaign draws to a close on the opening Saturday in May, the 3rd.
QPR are the favourites to lift the title and if that plays out it could come at Barnsley, while second-fancied Bolton are at home to Birmingham. Reading will be at home to Burnley while a Lancashire derby between Blackburn and Wigan could have plenty riding on it.
Leeds, hoping that Brian McDermott can be the man to finally make a decent fist of a promotion attempt, finish with perennial bogey side Derby, while Ipswich are at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
Charlton wrap their season up at Blackpool, Watford host Huddersfield, Nottingham Forest and Brighton square-up, Leicester are at home to Doncaster and Millwall at home to Bournemouth.
Finally, Middlesbrough's fans will hope the longest trip in the division - to Yeovil - will have a tangible reward attached to it.
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