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Sheffield United begin promotion push with Birmingham clash

Sheffield United begin promotion push with Birmingham clash
© Reuters
The Rams face the possible threat of being relegated to League One and taking on Wycombe's fixture list.

The EFL has released two fixture lists after Derby were fined £100,000 and warned about their future conduct for accounting irregularities.

The Rams face the possible threat of being relegated to League One – and taking on Wycombe’s fixture list – after an independent disciplinary commission ordered the fine to be paid to the EFL, while the club must file restated accounts for the financial years ending June 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The original charge was lodged almost 18 months ago. Sky Bet Championship Derby were then cleared of breaching the League’s financial rules, although the EFL won its appeal against that decision in May.

The EFL said it was releasing the interchangeable list – in case any appeal against the verdict led to Derby being handed a retrospective points deduction which could relegate them to League One and reinstate Wycombe as a Championship club.

The EFL said: “The EFL can confirm that it has developed an interchangeable fixture list for Derby County and Wycombe Wanderers, while the disciplinary process is finalised.”

The Rams said on their official website: “Please note that these fixtures are subject to change and at this stage the fixture list is regarded as a DRAFT.”

A further statement from Derby read: “The Club disputes that a points deduction at any time is appropriate, and disputes that it is lawful for the EFL to seek to impose one retrospectively, altering the final league placings after the season has already finished.

“The club looks forward to competing in the Championship in the 2021/22 season. It shall not comment further until after publication of the full written reasons of the Disciplinary Commission.”

Wayne Rooney’s team, who survived on the final day of the season, are currently due to start with a home game against Huddersfield.

Wycombe, who finished third from bottom in the Championship and have a League One opener at home to Accrington, also stated on their website that the EFL had developed another fixture list.

Meanwhile, Slavisa Jokanovic starts his quest to return Sheffield United to the Premier League with a home match against Birmingham.

The 52-year-old – who has previously led Watford and Fulham out of English football’s second tier – was in May appointed manager of the Blades, who finished bottom of the Premier League last season.

And Thursday’s release of the 2021-22 Sky Bet Championship fixtures revealed testing away matches at Swansea and West Brom for Jokanovic’s team after their opener at home to Lee Bowyer’s Blues.

Sky Bet Championship fixture difficulty 2021-22
Sky Bet Championship fixture difficulty 2021-22 (PA Graphics)

The Baggies, also relegated from the top flight, start with a trip to Bournemouth, before a home game against Luton.

Fulham, whose Premier League return lasted just one season, open against Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage, before away games at Huddersfield and Millwall.

Elsewhere on the opening day of EFL action, currently scheduled for Saturday, August 7, beaten play-off finalists Swansea start at Blackburn and there is a London derby with QPR hosting Millwall.

Blackpool v Lincoln City – Sky Bet League One – Playoff – Final – Wembley Stadium
Neil Critchley and his play-off final winners Blackpool start at Bristol City (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The three teams promoted from League One all start away from home. Champions Hull are at Preston, Peterborough travel to Luton and play-off final winners Blackpool face Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

The other opening-day matches see Cardiff at home to Barnsley, Coventry host Nottingham Forest and Reading travel to Stoke.

In League One, Sheffield Wednesday start with a trip to Charlton, while the other team relegated from the Championship, Rotherham, open at home to Plymouth.

Sunderland’s fourth successive season in the third tier starts with a home game against Wigan, who did the double over them last season, with Lincoln – beaten in the play-off final by Blackpool – at Gillingham on the opening day.

Newly-promoted Bolton are at home to MK Dons, Cambridge host Oxford, Cheltenham are at Crewe and Morecambe start at Ipswich.

Morecambe v Newport County – Sky Bet League Two – Playoff – Final – Wembley Stadium
Morecambe won promotion to League One via the play-offs (John Walton/PA)

Doncaster are at home to AFC Wimbledon, Portsmouth start at Fleetwood and Burton travel to Shrewsbury in the other League One openers.

In League Two, new boys Sutton start at Forest Green, before Salford provide the south London team’s first home opposition at Gander Green Lane the following weekend.

Hartlepool, promoted at Torquay’s expense thanks to a thrilling play-off final victory at Ashton Gate on Sunday, start at home to Crawley, before away matches at Barrow and Sutton.

Joey Barton and Bristol Rovers open at Mansfield, Northampton host Port Vale, Rochdale are at Harrogate and Swindon travel to Scunthorpe.

The other League Two openers see Derek Adams’ Bradford and beaten play-off finalists Newport at Exeter and Oldham respectively, while Carlisle host Colchester, Salford take on Leyton Orient, Stevenage face Barrow and Walsall travel to Tranmere.

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