No TV deal for Town
IPSWICH are conspicuous by their absence from the first list of Football League fixtures to be covered by Sky Sports next season.The satellite broadcaster today revealed a schedule of 17 live games featuring 27 different clubs over the opening two months of the campaign.
By Mel Henderson
IPSWICH are conspicuous by their absence from the first list of Football League fixtures to be covered by Sky Sports next season.
The satellite broadcaster today revealed a schedule of 17 live games featuring 27 different clubs over the opening two months of the campaign.
But Town are not one of them, although I understand they could yet feature on August 30 when West Ham United are the visitors to Portman Road.
Sky are keen to cover the fixture, with a 5.35pm kick-off, but negotiations are ongoing and the TV date is by no means certain.
Fixtures between the two clubs are always attractive and, regardless of whether or not the cameras are there, it would probably be a sell-out.
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Hammers' boss Glenn Roeder, absent towards the end of last season after being sidelined with a brain tumour, is eager to return to work and lead his side to promotion.
Town's situation is in stark contrast to last season, when their game at Walsall on the opening day of the season was the first to feature on Sky.
Most First Division clubs have been allocated at least one television fixture, with relegated Sunderland featuring three times.
Their Carling Cup first round game at Mansfield has also been selected, meaning four of their first 11 games of the season will be broadcast live.
Matches from all three divisions will be shown in the opening month, but Sky are clearly anxious to focus on the three clubs who came down from the Premiership last month.
Both West Ham, at Preston, and Sunderland, who travel to face Nottingham Forest, come under the spotlight on the opening day, August 9.
And one week later it is West Bromwich Albion's turn when they take on Burnley at The Hawthorns.
Derby, now managed by ex-Town boss George Burley, do not have long to wait, with the Rams' visit to newly-promoted Cardiff due for live coverage on Bank Holiday Monday, August 25.
Vic Wakeling, Sky Sports' managing director, commented: "We are pleased that we have been able to select some key fixtures from Divisions 2 and 3 at this early stage, but we also feel the First Division could be one of the most competitive for years with the three relegated sides so keen to make an early mark, and facing some stiff challenges from the likes of Sheffield United, Ipswich, Forest, Norwich, Cardiff City and so many other ambitious clubs."
The opening fixtures from the Nationwide League kick off the live season on Sky Sports, with the Community Shield between Arsenal and Manchester United exclusively live on Sunday, August 10.
The full list:
Saturday 9 Preston v West Ham (12.30pm); Saturday 9 Nottingham Forest v Sunderland (5.35pm); Saturday 16 West Bromwich Albion v Burnley (5.35pm); Monday 18 Brighton v QPR (8pm); Saturday 23 Preston v Sunderland (5.35pm); Monday 25 Reading v Rotherham (12.30pm); Monday 25 Cardiff v Derby County (5.35pm).
Monday 1 Wycombe v Sheffield Wednesday (8pm); Saturday 6 Bournemouth v Bristol City (12.05pm); Monday 8 Doncaster v Hull (8pm); Saturday 13 Watford v Millwall (12.30pm); Saturday 13 Rotherham v Crewe (5.35pm); Saturday 20 Stoke v Norwich (5.35pm); Saturday 27 Bradford v Sheffield United (12.30pm); Saturday 27 Sunderland v Reading (5.35pm); Monday 29 Walsall v Gillingham (8pm).
Saturday 4 Derby v West Ham (5.35pm).