ROTHERHAM United have announced the first two fixtures at their New York Stadium.
They are to play Barnsley in the opener and then Doncaster Rovers in the first evening match at their new 12,000 capacity ground.
Both games will be played before reduced-capacity attendances as is required under the statutory safety regulations.
They have to play games at 50 per cent capacity and then 75 per cent capacity before going ahead with a full capacity game which they hope will be a visit from a Premier League club,
The Barnsley game, on Saturday, July 21 (3pm kick off), will be the 50 per cent capacity fixture whilst the Doncaster game three days later on Tuesday, July 24 (7.45) will be at 75 per cent capacity. Said stadium manager Paul Davis: “We have to satisfy the local authority and emergency services that we are able to run a safe and secure matchday operation.
“Those games give us the chance to look at all matters involving a matchday operation but at reduced capacity of half and three-quarters full.
“The hope is that we will attract good-sized crowds on both occasions, which would include the visiting clubs possibly filling the away quota, thus allowing us to carry out all the necessary tests as robustly as possible.”
He said that subject to everyone being satisfied with the arrangements and outcome from these two games, then they would be ready for a full capacity fixture at the ground.
This could well be on August 11, the Saturday before the season opens. The club have been sounding out Premier League clubs as opponents for that game.
It all means that the Rotherham public - and beyond - will get plenty of opportunity to go to the ground in the opening month and there is also the prospect of a home tie in the Carling Cup on August 14 whilst the club have put in a request to the Football League if they could have a home game on August 18 so they can open their League Two campaign at the New York Stadium.
The club will also have an away friendly at Mansfield on Saturday, August 4.