It's been away for three months, but domestic football returns this weekend, and God how much we have missed it! Our boys at the World Cup were obviously let downs, and the less we speak about that the better. Pre-season results don't mean anything, and most players will confess that pre-season is one of the worst aspects of being a professional. The REAL thing is back!
24 team will play 46 league games in aid of getting out of this league or, for some, staying in it. However, the majority of sides in the second-tier this year will believe this is the ideal opportunity to make it to the promised land.
It's probably the first time none of the three teams which came down from the Premier League and favourites to go straight back up. Scunthorpe, Crystal Palace, Coventry and Watford fans will be hoping they aren't discomfortable whilst watching their team like last season. Portsmouth are even touted to drop another league due to their off-field shambolics.
Tonight, Norwich City and Watford open the 2010/2011 npower Championship live on Sky Sports. The Canaries will try and use their momentum from last season to spearhead their hopes of a successful campaign. Watford, meanwhile, survived last season's relegation dog fight by seven points with only two losses in their last seven outings of the season.
Another pick of the opening day's fixtures is Burnley versus Nottingham Forest at Turf Moor. Both sides' seasons ultimately ended in failure with Burnley being resigned to relegation and Forest losing to eventual play-off winners Blackpool in the semi-finals.
United's encounter with Cardiff is also a tasty tie. The Blades' clashes with the Bluebirds rarely disappoint, with some classic matches in the past; most notable, our 0:3 victory at Ninian Park two seasons ago, and Cardiff's 4:3 win at Bramall Lane last season.
Leeds and Derby are on BBC One tomorrow (Saturday) and Scotland (sorry, Middlesbrough) are up against Ipswich. This weekend's fixtures in full are:
Friday 6th August 2010:
Norwich City vs Watford (7:45PM kick-off)
Saturday 7th August 2010:
Bristol City vs Millwall
Burnley vs Nottingham Forest
Coventry vs Portsmouth
Crystal Palace vs Leicester
Hull vs Swansea
Leeds vs Derby (5:15PM kick-off)
Middlesbrough vs Ipswich
Preston vs Doncaster
QPR vs Barnsley
Reading vs Scunthorpe
Sunday 8th August 2010:
Cardiff vs Sheffield United
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