Darrell Clarke’s Port Vale are one team that Bristol Rovers will play against next season. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Excitement is building as in less than 24 hours, Bristol Rovers fans will find out their 2022/23 League One fixtures.
The Gas are back in the third tier after winning promotion from League Two at the first time of asking after a dramatic final day win over Scunthorpe United.
Antony Evans’ penning a new three-year deal improved the moods of fans and the signing of Jordan Rossiter from Fleetwood Town on Tuesday has given supporters more reasons to be cheerful.
As fans now wait for more signings as well as the release of the home and away trips for next season, one other thing to tick off is the fixture list.
At 09:00 on Thursday, June 23, the EFL will give clubs their regular 46 game schedule which will run from late July to early May.
After the teams were confirmed, the EFL already would have held discussions with fan groups whilst clubs would have notified them of any personal requests.
Here is the information we know of so far ahead of when the fixtures are published tomorrow.
Not since the 2015/16 season have Rovers opened the season at home which has probably made for some of their poor starts. It’s been long journeys up north to places such as Sunderland, Mansfield and Blackpool in recent years. As a result of Rovers playing away from home, their inter-city rivals Bristol City have been given home matches. The two Bristol clubs very rarely play at home on the same day but did when Rovers had Sutton United in the FA Cup whilst the Robins were in Championship action.
If tradition is anything to go by then Rovers will finish off their campaign at home as per EFL rules, no team can either be home or away twice on the opening and final day of the season.
Home advantage played a huge part last season and winning promotion in front of a sold out Memorial Stadium made the moment much sweeter. The Gas have ambitions of competing in the division this season so finishing the season at home isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
After being postponed for the last number of years, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta returns. It will take place from Thursday, 11 August to Sunday, 14 August and is held in Ashton Court, the red side of the city. As Rovers’ city rivals don’t usually play at home on the weekend of the festival, expect Rovers to be home on that day.
World Cup break?
Unlike the Premier League and the Championship, League One and League Two will continue as normal, unless there are international call-ups.
A break is planned in the Championship from November 13 to December 9 but for teams in the third tier, they will play on, which could mean a cross over of fixtures.
England’s two World Cup matches against Iran and the United States are on Monday, November 21 and Friday, November 25, so there is unlikely to be any real clash. The Three Lions final group stage match against Wales however is to be played on Tuesday, November 29 at 19:00 GMT.
Tuesday is the usual day for midweek fixtures in the EFL Trophy and League One and whilst there isn’t a direct link, there is a hope that the footballing bodies will see sense and avoid scheduling any fixtures that day.
Fans that want to take in the full football spectacle will have to miss some games however with the likes of World Cup winners France playing at the same time as one of their games on Saturday, November 26.
How many international breaks are there?
League One and League Two clubs are usually unaffected by international breaks and continue on but sometimes a team can have more than three call-ups.
Wales’ U21 EURO qualifying campaign is over so unless Paul Bodin’s side organise any friendlies or a training camp then Luca Hoole, who made a cameo appearance this month, is likely to remain with his club.
Anssi Jaakkola hasn’t been involved with the Finnish national team for a year either so unless any new signings bring any international pedigree it is unlikely Rovers would be the reason for any postponements.
There are two final rounds of Nations League fixtures to be played on the week commencing Monday, September 19 however and if one opponent has three call-ups, that could see a game rearranged.
League One often tends to get missed out when broadcaster Sky Sports makes their picks for television.
As Sky don’t possess the rights for the World Cup, it remains to be seen whether they will choose to broadcast third and fourth tier games given the absence of Premier League and Championship football for a month.
Games could be going head to head with some group stage matches but this would at least give some exposure and coverage to teams who don’t necessarily get to play in front of the live television cameras.