EFL fixture release: The main talking points

The EFL fixtures for 2019-20 were announced on Thursday morning.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the stories behind the

Frankly, Rams look to have a tough start

Leeds United v Derby County – Sky Bet Championship Play-off – Semi Final – Second Leg – Elland Road
Derby, currently managed by Frank Lampard, appear to have a tough start (Nick Potts/PA)

Whoever starts the season as Derby boss will have to hit the ground running as the Rams face five of the teams expected to finish above them in the Championship, according to the bookies, in their first eight outings. However, October may bring some respite and the festive fixture list also looks kind, meaning a possible slow start followed by a mid-season improvement.

End of the road may be a challenge for Blues

Birmingham City v Aston Villa – Sky Bet Championship – St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium
Birmingham fans may not like the look of their run-in (Nick Potts/PA)

Birmingham appear to have a tough finish to their campaign, with five of their final nine games coming against some of the division’s strongest teams. The Blues are searching for a new manager following the sacking of Garry Monk earlier this week, so at least his replacement will have had some time to prepare for the challenge.

Owls can get off to a flyer

Aston Villa v Middlesborough – Sky Bet Championship – Playoff – Semi Final – Second Leg – Villa Park
The calendar appears to be kind to Steve Bruce’s Sheffield Wednesday early in the season (Martin Rickett/PA)

Sheffield Wednesday should start strongly as they face five of the Championship’s apparent eight weakest teams in their first six matches. However, from mid-February onwards the Owls only have two such games and finish with three back-to-back fixtures against clubs expected to be in the shake-up for promotion.

Brewers’ glass half empty, or half full?

Manchester City v Burton Albion – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – Etihad Stadium
Burton, managed by Nigel Clough, have a tricky start and finish (Martin Rickett/PA).

It would seem that Burton need to make the most of the middle of their season if they are to prosper. Nigel Clough’s Brewers are the only side in League One to face five of the expected top eight teams in both their first 10 and last 10 fixtures.

EFL newcomers can hit the ground running

AFC Fylde v Salford City – Vanarama National League Play-off – Final – Wembley Stadium
Salford celebrate their play-off win at Wembley (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Both the newly-promoted sides, Salford and Leyton Orient, seem to have been handed a gentle introduction to life in League Two. Each team’s opening three games are against clubs tipped to finish in the lower third of the table and they only have to face two of the expected top eight before October.