SHEFFIELD Wednesday will inject a feelgood factor into Pride Park when they open their Championship campaign on August 18, says Nigel Clough.
The Derby boss predicts an exciting match in a vibrant atmosphere as the Owls bid to sustain the momentum of their promotion.
“It’s a tough fixture to kick off with, as Wednesday will have a feelgood factor surrounding them after promotion, but it’s great to be at home on the opening day,” said Clough.
“That said, it’s a brilliant first game to have, and I would expect Wednesday will take up their full allocation of tickets, given it’s their first game back in the Championship and it’s a fairly local game.
“It has all the ingredients of a cracking game.
“I think it goes without saying we will have a fantastic and electric atmosphere.
“We’ve had some good results on the opening day for the last few seasons and we’ll be doing all we can to rise to the occasion again.”
Wednesday could find themselves playing against one of their promotion aces in the first few weeks of the season, with Danny Batth back at Wolves after his Hillsborough loan, and with the Owls visiting Molineux on Saturday, September 29.
Dave Jones’ first return to Cardiff since he was sacked in May last year will take place on December 1, and the Bluebirds will visit Hillsborough on March 16.
The Owls’ first home league game will be against Birmingham on Tuesday, August 21, 7.45pm.
Championship status means that Wednesday will have no games on the international weekends of September 8 and October 13.
Boxing Day brings an away trip for the second successive year.
It’s Bolton this time, after Walsall in 2011.
But the Owls will be at home on New Year’s Day, to Burnley.
Their goalkeeper, of course, is former Wednesday star Lee Grant.
The South Yorkshire derbies against Barnsley will be at Oakwell on December 15 with the Hillsborough return on March 30.
Although the league season starts on August 18, the Capital One Cup kicks off a little earlier.
Wednesday’s first-round trip to Oldham on Monday, August 13 - a live Sky TV date - means a quick Boundary Park return for new right-back Kieran Lee.