When will we know Ipswich Town's Championship fixtures for 2016/17?
PUBLISHED: 10:23 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 10:34 21 June 2016
As Mick McCarthy likes to tell us, the Championship is a hard and competitive division to get out of.
And while Ipswich Town will certainly be making a tilt at promotion the club’s main priority, it should not overshadow the return of some rather tasty individual fixtures next season.
Fixture release day is probably one of the most eagerly anticipated dates in the football calendar for many fans – up there with the opening fixture itself and your club’s first FA Cup game.
This year the fixtures for Ipswich Town and the rest of the Championship will be published on June 22.
Among the first games looked for by Blues fans will be the return of the hotly contested Old Farm Derby against Norwich.
In every one of the 14 seasons since 1994/95 when the two rivals have been in the same division, there has been a derby fixture either side of Christmas (excluding play-offs).
Seven times the pre-Christmas fixture has been played in either October or November, but after Christmas a date in March or April has hosted the reverse game on 12 occasions.
In the same period the team which hosts the first fixture of the season has been split equally at seven apiece.
The key fact Ipswich fans will have to endure however is in 2014/15, the last time there was a league derby, the Tractor Boys failed to beat Norwich in four fixtures – two regular season games and the play-off semi-finals.
Hopefully next season will yield some more positive results.
The game against Newcastle will also stand out for Town fans thanks to the two clubs’ shared managerial history in Sir Bobby Robson.
The 2009/10 season was the last time the Magpies were in the same division as Ipswich and the Blues’ home fixture, shown live on the BBC, was significant as the day the North Stand was renamed the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
The result was fairly forgettable though – a 4-0 defeat for the hosts, though the reverse fixture was a creditable 2-2 draw.
The third team relegated from the Premier League was Aston Villa who last played Town in an FA Cup 3rd Round game in 2013 at Villa Park – a 2-1 win for the hosts.
Which games will you be looking out for? Let us know in the comments below.