Everything you need to know about Championship fixture release day with Bristol City, Leeds Utd & Sheff Wed waiting
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Bristol City will find out along with their 23 Championship rivals, their 2023/24 schedule at 9.00 am on Thursday, June 22.
The Robins, along with the likes of Leeds United, Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as the 20 other teams competing in the division, will have their fixture list from August to May drawn up. It's an exciting time for supporters, who will begin their travel plans for the upcoming campaign, as they look to tick off new grounds, and work out which matches they miss, because of prior engagements.
Nigel Pearson's side will also find out their Carabao Cup first round opponents tomorrow, with the draw taking place on Sky Sports at 2.30 pm. It's an opportunity to potentially face inter-city rivals Bristol Rovers, but the two clubs' ball numbers are both three, and four, but it's still a possibility. The draw has been split into Southern sections, and there and no real major ties to look forward to, other than maybe a derby with Bristol Rovers, but otherwise there are no Premier League teams in the draw, as they enter at the second round stage.
When it comes to the Championship, whilst it has not yet been confirmed, but it could be likely, is that they will open up their league campaign with a home fixture at Ashton Gate on Saturday, August 5, depending on who their opening day opponent is. This is assumed because the Bristol Balloon Fiesta takes place from Thursday, 10 Aug 2023 – Sunday, 13 Aug 2023, which is the second week of August. Avon & Somerset Police usually advice for Bristol City to be away on that weekend, as their resources will be at the event, and given the Fiesta takes place at Ashton Court Estate, it would make for a logistical nightmare, should City be at home.
The season will start for most teams on Saturday, August 5, but Sky Sports are likely to air a fixture on Friday, August 4, as well as there being a opportunity for a game to be shown on Sunday, August 6. Bristol City’s second game of the season will be on Tuesday, August 8 or Wednesday, August 9 and that will be a Carabao Cup first round clash.
Fixture release day should give an idea of what the schedule is like, but there are things subject to change, and a lot of the time these are just initial dates. Matches against Cardiff City and Swansea City are likely to change, either on the advice of Avon & Somerset Police and the South Wales Police, as well as being television picks. Last season, matches with the Bluebirds, took place on a Sunday at home, because of Sky Sports choosing it, whilst the reverse fixture was at 12.30, and was changed on the advice of the police.
Bristol City against Swansea City has very rarely been played on a Saturday in recent years, and last season both league matches took place on the Sunday, whilst the third round FA Cup tie at Ashton Gate was on a Sunday, and the replay was on the Tuesday. Matches with Swansea aren't under any travel restrictions such as a bubble, but the police advice early kick-offs.
City strangely started and finished the 2022/23 campaign away from home, having lost to Hull City on the opening day, before defeating QPR in their final game of the season. The last time City were at home on the final day was Brentford in 2020/21, and that was played without supporters because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One fixture to keep an eye out for will be Bristol City against Leicester City, with the Foxes holding a place in the 59-year-old's heart. He helped assemble the team that defied all the odds and won the Premier League title in 2015/16, but the good times have come to an end following their relegation, and now they will have to find someone who will guide them back to the promised land like Pearson did in 2013/14. As for Pearson's record against Leicester, he has managed against them only four times, and he has yet to return to the King Power Arena as an opposition manager. He managed Watford against Leicester in the 2019/20 season, which was a 1-1 draw, but this will be the first time he heads back to the Midlands, where he should get a good reception.