Sheffield Wednesday face testing start to life back in League One

IN their first season back in the third tier for 10 years, Sheffield Wednesday will be handed a crash course in League One life before the end of the summer holidays.

If building a new-look side is not hard enough amid vicissitudes off the pitch, Darren Moore will be reflecting on a fixture list that affords him few favours.

After an opening-day trip to much-fancied Charlton Athletic, Wednesday host a Doncaster side who Moore abruptly left at the start of March in their first home assignment at Hillsborough on August 14 – with Rovers requiring no team talk for that one.

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A derby at Rotherham United follows on the following Saturday and a ‘welcome to League One’ fixture sees the Owls visit Morecambe on August 28 for the first time in a league game. There are also first-ever trips on the roster to AFC Wimbledon, Cheltenham Town, Accrington and Fleetwood for Wednesday in 2021-22.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis
Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis

All of Yorkshire’s League One contingent will have bumped into each other by the start of September with the Millers facing back-to-back home derbies with Wednesday and Doncaster, with Rovers winless in Rotherham in 13 visits since March, 1985.

On the same day that the Millers host the Owls, Sheffield United host Huddersfield Town in the first White Rose derby of the Championship season, with Slavisa Jokanovic also handed tough trips to Swansea City and West Brom in August, with the Blades afforded a testing start to the season like their city rivals.

It remains to be seen who Huddersfield actually face on the opening day.

Their campaign is due to start at Derby County, who have not lost in their last 26 home fixtures against Town. The record stretches way back to November, 1957.

But that is far from certain given the disciplinary issues around Derby, who face the threat of relegation if a retrospective points deduction is imposed.

Their fixtures are interchangeable with those of Wycombe, relegated to League One last season.

Derek Adams begins his Bradford City tenure in the south west at Exeter City, while City face a home derby with Harrogate Town on Boxing Day – a refreshing rewind to when derbies were staged over the festive season.

A Yuletide date in the diary for Barnsley fans arrives on December 18 when Valerien Ismael, who yesterday completed his move to West Brom, is set to make his first return to Oakwell.