The new Sky Bet Championship season is upon us, with Match Round 1 action kick-starting across three days this weekend.Seventy-four days have passed since the Play-Off Final between Norwich City and Middlesbrough, but the daily countdown clock has finally reached zero, and the first of 552 Sky Bet Championship regular season games in 2015/16 gets under way on Friday night.
Match Round 1 fixtures
Here are the match-ups for the first weekend of the Sky Bet Championship (kick-off times are 3pm unless stated):
Friday 7th August
Brighton & Hove Albion v Nottingham Forest (7.45pm – live on Sky Sports)
Saturday 8th August
Cardiff City v Fulham (12.00pm)
Leeds United v Burnley (12.30pm – live on Sky Sports)
Birmingham City v Reading
Blackburn Rovers v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers v Derby County
Brentford v Ipswich Town
Charlton Athletic v Queens Park Rangers
Hull City v Huddersfield Town
Rotherham United v Milton Keynes Dons
Sheffield Wednesday v Bristol City
Sunday 9th August
Preston North End v Middlesbrough (12.00pm – live on Sky Sports)
Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion welcome Nottingham Forest to the Amex Stadium to start Sky Bet Championship proceedings on Friday night, and it is one of three games being screened live on Sky Sports throughout the weekend.
Brighton have lost all of their last three opening day fixtures, while Forest have won all of their most recent three curtain-raisers.
Read more: Live on Sky Sports: Brighton & Hove Albion v Nottingham Forest
In the first of the Saturday action, Leeds United open their 2015/16 account in front of the Sky Sports cameras at home to Burnley, who re-enter the Championship fray after a season in the Premier League. That game is preceded by Cardiff City against Fulham, with Russell Slade and Kit Symons embarking on their first full seasons as managers of their respective clubs.
Last campaign’s Play-Off semi-finalists, Brentford and Ipswich Town, meet at Griffin Park for their maiden outings, with former Bees midfielder Jonathan Douglas in contention to make his Tractor Boys debut against his old club.
Read more: Ipswich Town’s Jonathan Douglas set for immediate reunion with Brentford
Divisional newcomers Bristol City and Milton Keynes Dons both start on the road, away to Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United respectively, while Hull City and Queens Park Rangers will launch their campaigns against Huddersfield Town and Charlton Athletic, in a bid to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Read more: Paul Konchesky aiming to help Queens Park Rangers bounce back
Derby County will also be looking to go one better this term, after they missed out on the Play-Off positions by the narrowest of margins last season. They have a new figure at the helm in Paul Clement, and he will take charge of his first competitive game against Bolton Wanderers.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were also in Play-Off contention last year, and they start at Blackburn Rovers, while Gary Rowett’s Birmingham City host Reading at St Andrew’s.
On Sunday, last year’s Championship Play-Off Final runners-up, Middlesbrough, face Sky Bet League 1’s equivalent event winners, Preston North End, in the final fixture of Match Round 1, in another clash being shown on Sky Sports.
Match official appointments
The officials appointed to Football League games in Match Round 1 of the 2015/16 have been announced.
Click here to see which officials are where on opening weekend
Don’t miss it!
We’ll be providing live match updates from all of the games in Match Round 1 of the Sky Bet Championship on Twitter, via @SkyBetChamp.
Channel 5 is the new home for The Football League’s weekly highlights show, Football League Tonight. The show will be screened live in a primetime slot of 9pm on every Saturday of the new season, starting this weekend.
Read more: Channel 5's Football League Tonight to broadcast highlights at primetime