The Sky Bet Championship returns this weekend.
The 2014/15 Sky Bet Championship season kicks-off this weekend as we visit Blackburn Rovers on Friday evening.
Our fellow Championship teams begin on Saturday 9th August as follows:
Saturday 9th August 2014
Brentford v Charlton Athletic
Brighton v Sheffield Weds
Derby County v Rotherham United
Huddersfield Town v AFC Bournemouth
Middlesbrough v Birmingham City
Millwall v Leeds United
Nottingham Forest v Blackpool
Watford v Bolton Wanderers
Wigan Athletic v Reading
Ipswich Town v Fulham (17:15)
Sunday 10th August 2014
Wolves v Norwich City (16:00)
Two former City man are set to do battle on the opening weekend at the DW Stadium as Don Cowie and his Wigan Athletic teammates face off against a Reading side likely to include Cardiff City Academy graduate .Chris Gunter Both teams will be aiming for a high league position this term with this mouth-watering clash an early test of their promotion ambitions.
Watford manager Guiseppe Sannino will have been delighted to welcome Matěj Vydra back into the Hornet’s fold. Championship Top Scorer for 2012/13, Vydra will be looking to give City legend Kevin McNaughton and Bolton Wanderers an uncomfortable afternoon at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon.
Leo Ulloa’s club record transfer from Brighton & Hove Albion to Leicester City leaves new manager and Liverpool legend Sami Hyypia with a gap to fill in the forward line for the Seagulls. New signing Chris O’Grady and a fully fit Craig Mackail-Smith should give Hyypia the right kind of selection headaches ahead of Saturday’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday. Former City man Glenn Loovens continues as captain for the Owls this season and will be a crucial part of Stuart Gray’s side as they look to build on last years sixteenth position.
Last season’s final day survivors Birmingham City begin their Championship season with trip to Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough. Karanka made a strong impression after joining the North East side in December 2013. He has already made use of his publicised friendship with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho by bringing in highly rated central defender Kenneth Omeruo once more this term.
Mark Warburton will be hoping his winning touch continues into the new season. The Brentford man’s first season in management ended with the Bees finishing runners up in League One and sealing promotion. A hard opening day match sees them host Charlton Athletic. Belgian manager Bob Peeters takes charge of the Addicks in a competitive match for the first time and will be looking for goals from fellow countryman and new signing Igor Vetokele.
Joe Lewis is likely to play his first game in Tangerine colours this weekend as the City loanee faces off against Nottingham Forest. Stuart Pearce takes charge of his first competitive match at Forest on Saturday since a twenty-three game spell as caretaker manager in 1997 and will be aiming to build their solid eleventh placed finish from last term.
Play-Off final runners-up Derby County host League One play-off winners Rotherham United in an interesting encounter at the County Ground on Saturday. Steve Evans’ side will be relying on the top flight and Championship experience of forward Matt Derbyshire as they aim to settle into the higher league. Former England manager Steve McLaren has brought in forward Leon Best to fight it out with Connor Sammon, Chris Martin and Jamie Ward for the starting two striking spots while creativity shouldn’t be a problem for the Rams with young star Will Hughes in midfield.
Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth side achieved an incredible tenth position in their first season back in the Sky Bet Championship. The thirty-six year old manager has led the Cherries from 23rd position in League Two to the heights of the second division and will look to start strongly away at Mark Robins’ Huddersfield Town.
Saturday’s late kick-off sees Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town play host to recently relegated Fulham. The Cottagers have signified their promotion intent for the season by signing proven Championship goal-scorer and former Bluebirds hero Ross McCormack for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £11 million. McCormack’s arrival could see him line-up alongside Greek World Cup star Konstantinos Mitrglou in attack, Fulham’s current record signing. Town themselves will have high hopes for the upcoming battle having missed out on the final play-off spot by just four points in 2013/14.
A baptism of fire for Leeds United’s new manager David Hockaday as the former Forest Green Rovers man takes his squad to Millwall on Saturday afternoon. Ian Holloway’s appointment with the Lions in January 2014 saw the former Blackpool manager complete his task of keeping them in the second tier, remaining unbeaten in the final eight games of the season.
Sunday’s only match sees League One Champions Wolverhampton Wanderers host relegated Norwich City at Molineux. Neil Adams’ side have faced a number of changes in pre-season with record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel joining St Etienne on loan for the entire season while stalwart Robert Snodgrass agreed to join Hull City. New signing Kyle Lafferty and former Celtic man Gary Hooper are both proven scorers at this level and will undoubtedly be a threat for the Canaries this term. Kenny Jackett’s Wolves return to the Championship following a season in League One, setting a record points total while romping to the third tier title.