NUFC fixtures revealed: West Brom up first

NEWCASTLE United have been handed a fiendish start to life in the second tier - opening their Championship campaign with a trip to West Brom before facing Reading at home.

NEWCASTLE United have been handed a fiendish start to life in the second tier - opening their Championship campaign with a trip to West Brom before facing Reading at home.

The pressure on the club to find a speedy resolution to the Alan Shearer and ownership saga has been heightened by a fixture list that pairs them with five ex-Premier League sides for the first month. Sheffield Wednesday come to St James's Park on August 19 before a trip to Crystal Palace and a home game against Nigel Pearson's Leicester City.

The first Tyne-Tees derby is on December 19 against Middlesbrough, while the club finish the campaign with a trip to QPR. Roy Keane does not bring his Ipswich side to St James's Park until April 24.

Click here for the full fixtures

While it is a tough opening for United, it also alleiviates some of the pressure on the club on their return to the Championship. Had they been faced with a trip to one of the lesser lights like Scunthorpe (Glanford Park welcomes United on October 20) the sense of frustration among United fans - as well as the risk of an upset - would have been acute.

But with such a difficult opening, Shearer or whoever the new manager may be will want to start preparations as soon as possible.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer