How’s that for starters? FOUR Yorkshire fixtures to kick-off 2016 with a bang

David Wagner's Huddersfield Town face a crucial game against Bolton Wanderers. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
David Wagner's Huddersfield Town face a crucial game against Bolton Wanderers. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
0
Have your say

NEW YEAR. A time when millions attempt to steadfastly stick to plans to improve their well-being amid the need to feel restorative and rehabilitated. And invariably fail.

But with the newness comes a sense of rebirth, however fleeting, and for supporters of Yorkshire’s Football League contingent there remains the faint hope that things might - just might - be different in 2016.

Manager Aitor Karanka will see his Middlesbrough team host second-placed Derby County on Saturday.

Manager Aitor Karanka will see his Middlesbrough team host second-placed Derby County on Saturday.

As for the start of the new year action, opportunity knocks for all. The likes of Hull City and Middlesbrough are spying top-flight promotion, with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United, to a lesser extent, harbouring hopes of gatecrashing the play-offs.

Staying safe and consolidating is the aim for the South Yorkshire trio of Rotherham United, Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley, while Sheffield United aim to finally end their five-season League One ‘curse’.

Bradford City are also striving to return to what they see as their natural preserve in the Championship, with their neighbours Huddersfield Town seeking upward mobility in the brave new world of David Wagner.

For York City, the aims are more humble. It is all about keeping clear of the relegation quicksand and keeping hold of their cherished Football League status.

Nigel Adkins's Sheffield United will look to get the better of Peterborough United on Saturday.

Nigel Adkins's Sheffield United will look to get the better of Peterborough United on Saturday.

Here are four appetisers for the start of 2016.

Bolton v Huddersfield Town - Cash in on a favourable start to 2016.

Unbeaten over Christmas and with just two defeats in their past six games, Huddersfield are looking upwards and head into the New Year with a spring in their step. Their first four assignments of 2016 are clearly a time for momentum building.

Bolton away followed by a home treble against Reading (cup), Fulham and Charlton.

York City manager Jackie McNamara will hope to return from Yeovil with three points on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

York City manager Jackie McNamara will hope to return from Yeovil with three points on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

These are games to be successfully negotiated if Town are to truly turn a corner. After an excellent point at QPR and Boxing Day win over Preston, the good work should not go to waste at Bolton.

Middlesbrough v Derby - The Championship’s match of the season?

What a cracker to start 2016 at the Riverside. First hosts second with both in pretty pristine form.

Boro haven’t conceded a goal since November 7 and the last team to score in the league at the Riverside were Brentford on September 12.

Derby head north boasting an eight-match unbeaten league run - Boro’s sequence is seven - and Paul Clement’s Rams have been beaten just twice in the league this term.

The reverse fixture in Derby ended all square with the hosts grabbing a late leveller. Promises to be another tight affair on Teesside.

Sheffield United v Peterborough - Avoid the perils of an ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’

A season’s best Bramall Lane league crowd saw the Blades, finally, put it all together with the best performance of Nigel Adkins’s reign in an excellent 3-1 derby win over a strong Bradford side on Monday.

The Blades are now presented with a chance to double up and do another number on a side in close proximity in the table as they strive for their fifth successive win in all competitions.

Adkins’s side are starting to make their move and the division will truly take note if Posh become their latest victims.

It would be nice to head into the Manchester United FA Cup tie in a bit of form too ...

Yeovil v York City - Promises not to be a day for the faint-hearted out west.

The tension will be palpable in Somerset as the Minstermen tackle their relegation rivals with both desperate to steer away from trouble and avoid the disaster of demotion.

York head into the game following a hard-fought draw at Mansfield which followed a first win of Jackie McNamara’s reign and while a two-game unbeaten streak is not exactly earth-shattering, when you are down among the dead men, you take anything - especially after a run of nine straight losses.

The stakes are sky-high; if third-from-bottom York win, they move five points clear of the rock-bottom Glovers.

If they lose, they potentially swap places.