EFL opening day predictions: Kompany set for rude awakening
Vincent Kompany will have given the opening Championship games more than a quick glance when the EFL fixtures were released.
A Friday night contest at the John Smith's Stadium between last season's beaten play-off finalists Huddersfield and relegated Burnley will raise the curtain on the 2022-23 campaign in English football's second tier.
And that clash on July 29 could prove pivotal for both Carlos Corberan's Terriers and Kompany's Clarets as the two sides aim for promotion.
Past must be forgotten
Huddersfield suffered the heartache of losing to Nottingham Forest in last season's play-off final, going down 1-0 at Wembley.
Not surprisingly, Corberan's team will be eager to put together another strong push for promotion.
As for Burnley, their six-year stay in the Premier League came to an end and it has been all change at the club this summer, with former Manchester City skipper Kompany appointed as manager.
Depleted squad a concern
The Belgian, 36, faces a difficult task due to the fact no less than six first-teamers are leaving on free transfers, including James Tarkowski and Ben Mee, while goalkeeper Nick Pope has joined Newcastle.
Several areas of the squad need strengthening but there are doubts whether the club have the necessary funds, meaning Kompany will have to be smart in the transfer window and look at loan deals and free agents.
It will not be easy for Burnley to secure an instant return to the Premier League and it would be no surprise to see them beaten in West Yorkshire.
Owls to make quick start
Similar to Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday also endured play-off heartache last season as they lost to Sunderland in the League One semis.
With Wigan, Rotherham and the Black Cats now back in the Championship, the Owls are expected to be one of the main challengers for automatic promotion and they can get off to a solid start at home to Portsmouth on July 30.
Manager Darren Moore has already brought in six new faces, including Will Vaulks, Michael Smith and David Stockdale, and more additions are expected before the transfer window shuts.
Portsmouth lost 4-1 to Wednesday on the final day of last season and it was Pompey's away form that really hampered their progress, with just six league victories on the road recorded in the whole of 2021-22.
Carlisle to make early statement
For large parts of last season, Carlisle appeared destined for relegation from League Two.
But the appointment of Paul Simpson at the end of February resulted in a huge turnaround in form.
Simpson, 55, led his side to six victories in his first seven games in charge, ultimately sealing the club's status for another season, and he subsequently signed a three-year contract.
He knows the club well, having been player-manager from 2003-2006, leading the club to two promotions during that period, and he has been busy in the transfer market.
Four players have been added to the ranks, including Leeds forward Ryan Edmondson, and there is every chance Carlisle will kick off their campaign with a home victory against Crawley on July 30.
The Reds struggled on the road towards the end of last season and they may find it hard going at Brunton Park, a venue they have not won at since 2012.