Woodgate’s Boro to kick off EFL season at Luton as fixtures announced

Jonathan Woodgate’s managerial debut will be the first match of the 2019-20 EFL season.

Middlesbrough installed the 39-year-old former England international defender as their new manager last week on a three-year contract.

And Boro’s first Sky Bet Championship match, away to League One champions Luton, will be the match which gets the campaign under way on Friday, August 2.

Luton Town v Oxford United – Sky Bet League One – Kenilworth Road
Luton won League One under Mick Harford (with scarf) last season (Joe Giddens/PA)

Huddersfield, who finished bottom of the Premier League last season, start their quest to return to the top flight at home to beaten play-off finalists Derby on Monday, August 5.

Leeds, who lost to Frank Lampard’s Rams in the play-off semi-finals, start at Bristol City the previous day.

The remaining Championship matches all take place on Saturday, August 3.

Relegated Cardiff kick off at Wigan, while the other team who lost their top-flight status – Fulham – open at Barnsley, who were promoted from League One last month.

Steve Cooper File Photo
Steve Cooper has home help on the opening day of the season (Donall Farmer/PA)

New Swansea boss Steve Cooper is handed a home opener, against Hull, while West Brom – who chose Slaven Bilic as their new manager last week – begin at Nottingham Forest.

Birmingham, currently managerless following the sacking of Garry Monk, start at Brentford, while League One play-off winners Charlton open at Blackburn.

Reading host Sheffield Wednesday, Preston are at Millwall and QPR travel to Stoke in the other opening-day matches.

The three teams who dropped out of the Championship last season are all away on the opening day in League One.

Ipswich Town v Leeds United – Sky Bet Championship – Portman Road
Ipswich manager Paul Lambert (left) will be trying to plot a route back to the Championship (Joe Giddens/PA)

Bolton, who will start the campaign with a 12-point deduction as a
result of going into administration, open at Wycombe. Rotherham and Ipswich, who also dropped down, are respectively at AFC Wimbledon and Burton.

In contrast, three of the four teams promoted from League Two start at home. Champions Lincoln host Accrington, play-off winners Tranmere face Rochdale and Bury play the other team who came up, MK Dons.

Beaten play-off finalists Sunderland begin at home to Oxford, who current owner Stewart Donald is a fan of and once owned a 10 per cent stake in.

Mansfield Town v Newport County – Sky Bet League One Play-off – Semi Final – Second Leg – One Call Stadium
There was shoot-out joy for Newport at Mansfield last month – and the pair meet again on the opening day of the 2019-20 campaign (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Newport and Mansfield, who faced each other in the League Two play-off semi-finals last month, have been paired in the opening round of matches next season. The Welsh side, who won a shoot-out but were beaten by Tranmere at Wembley, have home advantage.

Leyton Orient – who named Ross Embleton as interim head coach on Wednesday following the death of manager Justin Edinburgh earlier this month – start at home to Cheltenham.

EFL newcomers Salford begin at home to Stevenage, a contest scheduled to kick-off at 1230 on August 3. It is the first time the Hertfordshire side have been drawn away on the opening day since 2008.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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