The EFL season is back! Two new sides have returned to the EFL and will be hoping to make an impact, while there are plenty more intriguing opening day fixtures. Let’s take a look…
A fresh start
Bury’s relegation from Sky Bet League One capped what had been a miserable season for the Shakers – just eight wins in their 46 league fixtures left them rock bottom of the table, a huge 15 points from safety.
They will be hoping the drop down to Sky Bet League Two will bring with it fresh hope, and an opening day fixture against travelling Yeovil Town could provide just that, with the Glovers finishing up in 19th place last time out.
Completing the last EFL campaign with just 20 wins between them, both clubs will be hoping for a brighter start this time around – Yeovil in particular, who shipped eight goals on the opening day last term.
The EFL’s longest serving manager is no longer in place at Exeter City’s St James Park – Paul Tisdale will be taking charge of MK Dons’ trip to Oldham Athletic rather than sitting in the Devon dugout.
The Grecians are led by a new manager for the first time in 12 years, with their former defender Matt Taylor now in charge for the upcoming campaign.
Following successive Play-Off Final defeats, the Exeter faithful will be hoping it’s third time lucky for their club as they once again go in search of a return to League One, a division in which they enjoyed in the years between 2009 and 2012.
Their opponents on the opening day, Carlisle United, won’t make a longer away journey all season, with the round trip coming in at just under a total 700 miles, taking six hours each way for those travelling by car.
Around the grounds
Lincoln City travel to Northampton Town in one of the most exciting opening day fixtures in League Two, with both clubs aiming for promotion for different reasons.
Lincoln’s 2017/18 campaign ended at the Play-Off semi-final stage, while Northampton were relegated from League One and romped to this division back in 2015/16.
The two clubs returning to the EFL, Tranmere Rovers and Macclesfield Town, are confronted with away trips to Stevenage and Swindon Town respectively, while Kevin Nolan’s Notts County host Colchester United.
Among the other fixtures, Cheltenham Town host Crawley Town and Morecambe travel southbound along the M6 to face Crewe Alexandra, while Forest Green Rovers travel to Michael Jolley’s Grimsby Town with 12 new signings in tow.
Saturday 4 August
Bury v Yeovil Town
Cheltenham Town v Crawley Town
Crewe Alexandra v Morecambe
Exeter City v Carlisle United
Grimsby Town v Forest Green Rovers
Mansfield Town v Newport County
Northampton Town v Lincoln City
Notts County v Colchester United
Oldham Athletic v Milton Keynes Dons
Port Vale v Cambridge United
Stevenage v Tranmere Rovers
Swindon Town v Macclesfield Town