Championship fixtures: Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton open up season on Friday, 4 August

Leeds United fans singing 'Marching on Together' with arms aloft

Newly promoted Sheffield Wednesday will kick off the Championship season with the visit of relegated Southampton to Hillsborough on Friday, 4 August.

Leicester’s second-tier return after relegation opens up a trio of games on the Sunday, with an M69 derby against beaten play-off finalists Coventry.

Leeds, having also dropped out of the top flight, then face Cardiff, while promoted side Ipswich go to Sunderland.

League One champions Plymouth host Huddersfield on Saturday, 5 August.

That is one of eight matches at 15:00 BST that afternoon, with Middlesbrough against Millwall and Blackburn Rovers versus West Bromwich Albion among the highlights.

There will be no break in the season as per last term when the World Cup brought a temporary halt to proceedings, with the season ending on Sunday, 4 May 2024.

First round of fixtures in full

All 15:00 BST unless shown

Friday, 4 August

Sheffield Wednesday v Southampton [20:00 BST]

Saturday, 5 August

Blackburn Rovers v West Bromwich Albion

Bristol City v Preston North End

Middlesbrough v Millwall

Norwich City v Hull City

Plymouth Argyle v Huddersfield Town

Queens Park Rangers v Watford

Stoke City v Rotherham United

Swansea City v Birmingham City

Sunday, 6 August

Leicester City v Coventry City [12:00 BST]

Leeds United v Cardiff City [14:30 BST]

Sunderland v Ipswich Town [17:00 BST]

Saints look to Martin, Foxes to Maresca, Leeds to who?

After a season of managerial upheaval which saw Southampton slide out of the top tier, Russell Martin has been brought in from Swansea to lead their bid to return at the first attempt.

Russell Martin claps the Swansea fans, much before his move to Southampton

Two of his first three games will be against sides who have just come up, in currently-managerless Wednesday in their opener and, after the visit of Norwich, when they then go along the south coast to Plymouth.

Saints’ first meeting with one of their fellow relegated sides comes against Enzo Maresca’s Leicester City on 16 September.

Maresca has been brought in by the Foxes to repair the damage after relegation, having shown his capabilities as part of Pep Guardiola’s staff at Treble-winners Manchester City.

The unproven Italian gets a taste of derby rivalry when his side face a Coventry team who were only denied a Premier League place by losing on penalties to Luton in last season’s play-off final at Wembley.

Leicester then head to Huddersfield, before welcoming Cardiff to the King Power Stadium, while Mark Robins’ Coventry follow their derby opener with a home game against last season’s play-off rivals Middlesbrough and then a trip to Swansea.

Leeds are yet to appoint a manager, but whoever comes in knows to expect a fiery atmosphere when old rivals Cardiff City come to Elland Road on the first Sunday afternoon of the season.

Former coach Carlos Corberan, who was part of Marcelo Bielsa’s staff at Leeds, brings his West Brom team to West Yorkshire in round three, while a trip to Southampton on 30 September will be their first meeting with a fellow relegated team.

Plymouth are back in the second tier for the first time in 14 seasons, following last year’s title success, and as well as their home games with Huddersfield and Saints in the opening rounds, also travel to Watford.

Their longest away day of the season, the 826-mile round trip on a coach to Sunderland, will be on 10 February.

Ipswich’s promotion reinstates the East Anglian derby with Norwich, with Portman Road staging the first on 16 December, with the return game at Carrow Road on 6 April.

Wednesday have a Yorkshire derby with Hull at the MKM Stadium in round two, while the first derby with Leeds is as early as 2 September.

Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough made the play-offs last season along with north east rivals Sunderland, and their two derbies will take place on 7 October at the Stadium of Light and then 3 February at the Riverside.

Millwall, Coventry away and then the return of ex-boss Neil Warnock with Huddersfield get the Teessiders up and running, while Sunderland’s opener against Ipswich is followed by a trip to Preston North End and a home date with Rotherham.

Cornwall-based Warnock, who opted to stay on at Huddersfield after guiding them to survival, has a short journey from his home for his first game at Plymouth, while new Watford boss Valerien Ismael gets a chance to face old club West Bromwich Albion as early as 20 September, when the Baggies come to Vicarage Road.

New Cardiff City boss Erol Bulut – the other new managerial arrival of the summer confirmed so far – begins his tenure at Leeds on the first Sunday of the campaign, with the visit of QPR and a trip to Leicester next up.

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