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EFL opening weekend: Baggies visit Bournemouth in early promotion clash
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Matthew Storey

West Brom's trip to Bournemouth is the standout fixture on the opening weekend of the 2021-22 Championship season. 

Relegated Fulham and Sheffield United both kick off their campaigns at home, while beaten play-off finalists Swansea face a trip to Blackburn.

Away from the second tier’s exciting opening weekend, eyes are immediately drawn to the meeting of Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday in a huge League One clash at The Valley.

In League Two, Sutton United’s first game in the EFL sees them travel to the New Lawn to take on last season's play-off semi-finalists Forest Green Rovers.

All the opening games are scheduled to be played on Saturday, August 7, with a number likely to be moved to be shown live on Sky Sports across the weekend.


Bournemouth's game with West Brom will garner plenty of attention as two of the promotion favourites collide — not that the Baggies will be thrilled with a difficult trip on day one.

Middlesbrough and Birmingham will want to remind Fulham and Sheffield United respectively just how tough the Championship can be when they visit them in their first games since relegation from the top flight.

A trip to Blackburn is a tough start for Steve Cooper's Swans after their Wembley heartbreak in May and Barnsley's clash with Cardiff could be a cracker in the Welsh capital.

All three of the teams promoted from League One begin life on the road. Champions Hull are at Preston, Peterborough travel to Luton and Blackpool make the long trip south to Bristol City.

Opening weekend fixtures: Bournemouth vs West Brom, Blackburn vs Swansea, Bristol City vs Blackpool, Cardiff vs Barnsley, Coventry vs Nottingham Forest, Derby vs Huddersfield, Fulham vs Middlesbrough, Luton vs Peterborough, Preston vs Hull, QPR vs Millwall, Sheffield United vs Birmingham, Stoke vs Reading.

Sheffield Wednesday travel to Charlton as they look to bounce back from relegation at the first time of asking
Sheffield Wednesday travel to Charlton as they look to bounce back from relegation at the first time of asking

League One

League One is full of fallen giants for the 2021-22 season and Sheffiled Wednesday's trip to Charlton kicks it off in fitting fashion.

Sunderland will hope it's fourth time lucky as the Black Cats try to end their lengthy stay in the third tier — they face a fellow former Premier League side in Wigan on the opening weekend.

The romance of League One, filled with clubs and stadiums of all sizes, is captured in Morecambe's trip to Ipswich following their unlikely play-off victory last term.

League Two champions Cambridge host fellow university city Oxford to get their season going — a game sure to provide plenty of pun-filled match reports.

Opening weekend fixtures: Bolton vs MK Dons, Cambridge vs Oxford, Charlton vs Sheffield Wednesday, Crewe vs Cheltenham, Doncaster vs Wimbledon, Fleetwood vs Portsmouth, Gillingham vs Lincoln, Ipswich vs Morecambe, Rotherham vs Plymouth, Shrewsbury vs Burton, Sunderland vs Wigan, Wycombe vs Accrington.

League Two

Sutton must wait patiently for their first home game in the EFL after they were handed a tricky trip to Forest Green to start life in the fourth tier.

Fellow newcomers Hartlepool have been here before and will host Rochdale at Victoria Park after their dramatic National League play-off victory on penalties over Torquay last Sunday.

Last season's beaten play-off finalists Newport travel to Oldham while big-spenders Salford host similarly ambitious Leyton Orient in a tasty encounter. 

Opening weekend fixtures: Carlisle vs Colchester, Exeter vs Bradford, Forest Green vs Sutton, Harrogate vs Rochdale, Hartlepool vs Crawley, Mansfield vs Bristol Rovers, Northampton vs Port Vale, Oldham vs Newport, Salford vs Leyton Orient, Scunthorpe vs Swindon, Stevenage vs Barrow, Tranmere vs Walsall.


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