Bluebirds host Terriers in opener, relegated trio face tough away trips
Last Updated: August 17, 2012 1:23pm
Malky Mackay: Cardiff boss will watch his team kick off the Championship season against Huddersfield
Cardiff City entertain newly-promoted Huddersfield Town as the pair kick off the new Football League season in front of the television cameras on Friday .
Click here for individual match facts and previews:
Barnsley v Middlesbrough
Birmingham v Charlton
Burnley v Bolton
Cardiff v Huddersfield
Crystal Palace v Watford
Derby v Sheff Wed
Hull v Brighton
Ipswich v Blackburn
Leeds v Wolves
Leicester v Peterborough
Millwall v Blackpool
N Forest v Bristol C
But it could have been totally different had the clubs not enjoyed differing fortunes in last season's play-offs.
Cardiff lost to West Ham in the Championship semi-finals, while the Terriers returned to the second tier for the first time in 11 years by beating Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United in the League One final at Wembley.
Saturday's action gets underway when Leeds United host recently-relegated Wolves in a lunchtime kick-off at Elland Road.
Neil Warnock has transformed the Whites' squad over the summer with 10 new signings, while Wolves are aiming to make the perfect start under new manager Stale Solbakken and forget about last season's miserable Premier League campaign.
Lancashire rivals Burnley and Bolton go head-to-head in an exciting opening-day clash at Turf Moor, with the added spice of Trotters boss Owen Coyle returning for the first time in a league game since swapping clubs.
Blackburn, the third team relegated from the top-flight, face a much longer trip as they visit Ipswich at Portman Road. Rovers are never far from off-the-field drama these days and are aiming to put controversial comments from the club's global advisor Shebby Singh about boss Steve Kean and winger Morten Gamst Pedersen behind them.
Charlton amassed over 100 points as they breezed to last season's League One title and will be eager to test themselves back in the second tier of English football.
The Addicks travel to last season's play-off semi-finalists Birmingham who, under the guidance of new boss Lee Clark, thrashed Barnet 5-1 in their midweek League Cup tie.
Middlesbrough are among the favourites for promotion and they travel to South Yorkshire to face Barnsley at Oakwell.
Barnsley's near neighbours Sheffield Wednesday were guided back to the Championship by Dave Jones and the ex-Cardiff and Wolves boss, who has plenty of experience at the top end of the division, takes the Owls to first-day opponents Derby.
Last term's beaten play-off finalists Blackpool look to put that disappointment behind them when they visit Millwall, while another match taking place in South London sees Crystal Palace host Watford, led by Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola following an Italian takeover of the Hornets.
Nottingham Forest and Bristol City, two sides which narrowly escaped the drop in May, meet at the City Ground - with different expectations for the season ahead. Forest, with the backing of new Kuwait-based owners, are expected to vastly improve, while City's main priority will be beating the drop.
East Midlands rivals Leicester are also expected to mount a promotion push and start with a home match against Peterborough, while Hull and Brighton meet at the KC Stadium as they look to climb into the top six after narrowly missing out last term.