MENTION opening-day Championship fixtures to Huddersfield Town supporters and most will quickly change the subject – especially given their fraught experiences last term.
Not that current Town manager Chris Powell is among that number and he is positively embracing their 2015-16 White Rose curtain-raiser on August 8, when they visit relegated Hull City.
It represents the first all-Yorkshire first-day clash since Barnsley welcomed Middlesbrough to Oakwell in August 2012.
Town’s trip to KC Stadium will arrive almost a year to the day since they were dismantled 4-0 at home by eventual champions Bournemouth, with Powell’s predecessor Mark Robins exiting shortly after with a cascade of boos probably still ringing in his ears.
After defeats to the Cherries, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff since returning to the second-tier in 2011-12, without so much as a goal to their name, Town will be entitled to feel a change of fortune is due and Powell is very much glass is half full when offering his take on the Tigers test.
He said: “It’ll be a great day for the supporters and I’m delighted we’re facing a side like Hull.
“Playing against a side that has been in the Premier League for the last two seasons will give us a measure of where we are.
“It’s only one of 46 games, but we’ll go there looking to get a result to get our season up and running. I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against Steve Bruce and his team.”
Games against Yorkshire rivals will be frequent on the Championship landscape for Town, Hull, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday, who must each play 10 matches against sides from the Broad Acres in 2015-16.
They will certainly come in clusters for Huddersfield, who have three successive derbies in November, with a sprinkling of derbies also on the itinerary of Leeds and Boro in late autumn and early winter.
Town then actually face four in the space of 21 days in a potentially definite spell in late March and April against Leeds, Wednesday, Boro and Hull, who start and end the season with a home derby at the KC.
Hull finish up at home to the Millers on May 7, while Leeds visit in the Tigers’ penultimate fixture of the campaign in East Yorkshire on April 23.
For manager Steve Evans and everyone connected with Rotherham, the derby date of October 24 will be firmly ringed on the calendar, which brings Wednesday to town.
The Millers will still be decidedly sore following last season’s clash at the AESSEAL New York Stadium when two stoppage-time goals from Atdhe Nuhiu and Kieran Lee saw the visitors snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – meaning Rotherham have still not beaten their near-neighbours at home in the league since 1976.
Derbies are also a firm part of the scene in League One and there are five separate dates in the calendar when there are two Yorkshire double-headers.
Leeds host the Owls on August 22, on the same afternoon as Barnsley welcome Bradford.
Huddersfield and Hull are home to Leeds and Boro respectively on November 7 with the reverse fixtures taking place at Elland Road and the Riverside Stadium on March 19.
There are also a couple of Christmas crackers on December 28 when the Owls head to Boro and the Blades welcome Bradford, having recently failed to gain permission to talk to Phil Parkinson ahead of eventually opting for Nigel Adkins as their new manager on June 2.
The business end of the season in April also serves up two choice derbies, with Hull facing Leeds and Barnsley heading to Bramall Lane on April 23.
Alongside Hull’s August 8 clash with Huddersfield, another opener of note sees Leeds host another side relegated from the Premier League in Sean Dyche’s Burnley, who visit Elland Road in Uwe Rosler’s first competitive game in charge.
But for the Blades, Bradford and York City, lengthy first-day trips to Gillingham, Swindon Town and Wycombe Wanderers respectively hold much less allure, although new Bramall Lane boss Adkins is busy accentuating the positives – much like his Huddersfield counterpart Powell.
Adkins said: “It is good that the game is on a Saturday, because it is a long trip and previously the club has had to play Gillingham away on a Tuesday night.
“We have to play everyone twice and we will always respect the opposition.”
Adkins’s final-day assignment is a bit more preferable, at home to a side which he led to promotion to the Championship on two occasions in Scunthorpe United.
The 50-year-old will also have circled the earlier fixture at Glanford Park on December 19 when he and long-serving assistant Andy Crosby head back to Scunthorpe for the first time as a management pair since leaving.
On the same day, another managerial team are sure to have a lump in their throats on returning to their old stomping ground.
The duo in question are Simon Grayson and Glynn Snodin, who return to Elland Road with Preston North End for the first time since being axed by Leeds on February 1, 2012.
This fixture also sees Jermaine Beckford, Neil Kilkenny and Paul Huntington returning to their old club.
Grayson and Snodin then face another appointment at a former club in Huddersfield just seven days later on Boxing Day, when several others with Town connections, including North End captain Tom Clarke, return to West Yorkshire.