WITH Sheffield Wednesday making their Championship return after two season’s in League One, Owls fans will be eagerly anticipating the release of the 2012/13 fixtures on Monday, writes Lee Bothamley.
After just pipping fierce rivals Sheffield United to the second automatic spot in League One last term, the Owls will be looking forward to facing opposition such as newly -elegated Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Wolverhampton Wanderers, along with strong Championship sides such as Birmingham and Cardiff.
The shortest journey of the new campaign will be a quick trip to South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley at Oakwell.
Keith Hill’s men will be looking for a brighter season after narrowly avoiding the drop into League One last term.
The last time the Owls took on the Tykes at Oakwell, Wednesday took all three points with a 2-1 win and both sets of supporters will be looking for victory when they meet this season.
There are four Lancashire trips to look forward to, against Blackburn, who knocked the Owls out of the League Cup 3-1 in the second round of last year’s competition, Bolton, Burnley, who the Owls beat 4-2 the last time they met in the league, and a seaside trip to Blackpool, who the Owls knocked out of the first round of the League Cup but then lost to in the FA Cu .
The furthest journey Wednesday face is another of their seaside visits, this time to Brighton, with fans having to make the 232-mile trek from Hillsborough to the The American Express Community Stadium.
One fixture the Owls won’t have is a 464-mile round trip to Portsmouth after they finished 22nd in the Championship last season and were relegated along with Coventry City and Doncaster Rovers who completed the bottom three.
Owls fans may have fancied a trip to the Keepmoat, but Dean Saunders’ men were powerless to avoid relegation, finishing the season at the foot of the Championship table on 36 points.
Another notable fixture Wednesdayites will be on the look out for is Leeds United.
The Yorkshire rivalry is likely to be exacerbated by the fact that they are now managed by former Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock.
Warnock took over the club following the sacking of Simon Grayson in February and the Owls fans would like nothing more than victory over their Yorkshire rivals and the former Blade.
Other White Rose clashe- to look out for are games against newly promoted Huddersfield, who beat the Blades in the League One play-off final to follow the Owls into the Championship, and Hull City.