Fixtures 2015-16: Tricky opening spell for promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough

Middlesborough boss Aitor Karanka. Picture: Simon Hulme
Middlesborough boss Aitor Karanka. Picture: Simon Hulme
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MIDDLESBROUGH have been handed a Lancastrian double-header to start the 2015-16 campaign against Preston and Bolton Wanderers respectively.

Boro make the trip to Deepdale on August 8 for a tough-looking opener to the campaign, with Simon Grayson’s North End likely to still be cock-a-hoop following their promotion back to the second tier at the end of last season.

Aitor Karanka’s beaten Championship play-off finalists welcome Bolton for their Riverside opener on August 15 and they end August with a trip to Sheffield Wednesday on August 29, with the Owls having proved a bit of a nemesis in recent seasons.

Download your guide to every Yorkshire club’s fixtures HERE

Another side who Boro have struggled to get results against in recent times, Leeds, visit Teesside on September 26 - with the Whites boasting a proud record of being beaten just once in 13 visits to the Riverside Stadium since its opening in 1995.

Boro have been handed three Yorkshire derbies in their four outings in November, starting with a home clash with Rotherham on November 3.

The Teessiders head down the coast to Hull four days later, with assistant coach Steve Agnew making his first return to the KC Stadium since leaving to join Boro last term.

Boro then make the visit to the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield on November 28 and are on their travels on Boxing Day to Blackburn, where they took the biggest Championship away following last term of just under 7,000 for a league game in 2014-15.

Boro end 2015 at home to Sheffield Wednesday on December 28 and start the new year with a Riverside appointment against Derby (January 2).

Leeds head to Leeds on February 13 and face another Yorkshire derby at Rotherham the following month (March 8), hosting Hull on March 19.

Boro’s last away game is a trip to St Andrews - not a happy hunting ground over the years - to face Birmingham on April 30.

Just like last year, Karanka’s troops end the season at home to Brighton on May 7.

Five key dates:

August 29: Sheffield Wednesday v Boro

September 26: Boro v Leeds.

November 7: Hull v Boro

February 13: Leeds v Boro

March 19: Boro v Hull