EFL fixtures throw up home opener for Sheff Utd, away day for West Brom

Slavisa Jokanovic

Slavisa Jokanovic starts his quest to return Sheffield United to the Premier League with a home match against Birmingham, after the EFL fixtures were released on Thursday.

The 52-year-old – who has led Watford and Fulham out of English football’s second tier – was in May appointed manager of the Blades, who finished bottom of the Premier League last season.

And Thursday’s release of the 2021-22 Sky Bet Championship fixtures sees Jokanovic’s team face testing away matches at Swansea and West Brom after their opener at home to Lee Bowyer’s Blues.

The Baggies, also relegated from the top flight, start with a trip to Bournemouth before a home game against Luton.

Fulham, whose Premier League return lasted just one season, open against Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage before away games at Huddersfield and Millwall.

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Elsewhere on the opening day of EFL action, currently scheduled for Saturday, August 7, beaten play-off finalists Swansea start at Blackburn and Wayne Rooney’s Derby, who survived on the final day of the 2020-21 season, begin with a home game against Huddersfield.

The three teams promoted from League One all start away from home. Champions Hull are at Preston, Peterborough travel to Luton and play-off winners Blackpool face Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

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Wednesday head to Charlton in League One

In League One, Sheffield Wednesday start with a trip to Charlton, while there are home starts for the other two teams relegated from the Championship – with Rotherham taking on Plymouth and Wycombe hosting Accrington.

Sunderland’s fourth successive season in the third tier starts with a home game against Wigan, who did the double over them last season, with Lincoln – beaten in the play-off final by Blackpool – at Gillingham on the opening day.

Newly-promoted Bolton are at home to MK Dons, Cambridge host Oxford, Cheltenham travel to Crewe and Morecambe start at Ipswich.

In League Two, new boys Sutton start at Forest Green, before Salford provide the south London team’s first home opposition at Gander Green Lane the following weekend.

Hartlepool, promoted at Torquay’s expense thanks to a thrilling play-off final victory at Ashton Gate on Sunday, start at home to Crawley, before away matches at Barrow and Sutton.