Thursday, June 23, 2022

By Phil Leake, PA Sport Data Journalist

The Championship fixture schedule was announced on Thursday morning ahead of a marathon season.

The 2022-23 campaign will run from July 30th to May 29th, with a short break in November and December for the World Cup.

Here, the PA news agency has identified some notable runs using an aggregation of leading bookmakers’ odds.

Hornets stung by early fixtures

Rob Edwards has a tricky start with Watford
Rob Edwards has a tricky start with Watford (Jonathan Brady/PA)

New Watford boss Rob Edwards will face a test of his credentials straight away, based on his side’s opening three fixtures.

The Hornets face last year’s play-off semi-finalists Sheffield United on the opening day, before a trip to West Brom and a home game against Vincent Kompany’s Burnley.

Several other clubs expected to fight it out for promotion, according to pre-season odds, have been handed daunting starts.

Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce’s West Brom will open up with two tough fixtures (Mike Egerton/PA)

Steve Bruce’s Baggies travel to Middlesbrough for their first game before hosting Watford, while Boro follow up with tricky-looking games against QPR and the Blades.

Burnley, whose relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on last season’s final day, open up with a trip to Huddersfield, who were runners-up in May’s play-off final.

Canaries to sing with favourable start

(PA Graphic)
(PA Graphic)

Dean Smith’s Norwich do not play anyone expected to finish in the top six until mid-September.

The Canaries are the bookmakers’ favourites for the Championship title, having been promoted in three of their last five seasons in the English second tier, including winning the title in their previous two campaigns.

With their rivals facing tricky fixture runs in July and August, former Villa boss Smith will fancy his chances of repeating that success.

Huddersfield to fall away in spring?

Huddersfield Town's Harry Toffolo
Huddersfield will have to overcome a difficult fixture run in March and April to challenge for promotion again (John Walton/PA)

The Terriers narrowly missed out on a place in the Premier League in May but face a difficult task of matching last season’s exploits.

Carlos Corberan’s side have been handed an exhausting schedule in March and April, facing all six promotion favourites in 12 games spread across just two months.

Gentle start for relegation candidates

Reading manager Paul Ince
Reading have the opportunity to get off to a good start next season under Paul Ince (Adam Davy/PA)

The four least-fancied clubs, based on pre-season odds, have been handed the chance to start well and avoid any relegation trouble.

Rotherham, Reading, Birmingham and Bristol City will all face at least two of the predicted bottom seven in their opening six matches.

Only Paul Ince’s Royals and Lee Bowyer’s Blues face one of the clubs expected to challenge for promotion during this run.

Rotherham and Bristol City’s gentle starts are offset by difficult run-ins.

The Millers, promoted automatically from League One last season, and the Robins are each up against four of the six promotion favourites in their final seven fixtures.

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