FIXTURES: Ipswich Town kick-start their Championship campaign with visit of Blackburn Rovers

IPSWICH Town will kick-off their 2012/13 Championship season with a home game against newly-relegated Blackburn Rovers.

After starting their campaign with the visit of League Two side Bristol Rovers in the Capital One Cup in the week commencing August 13, Town will then welcome Steve Kean’s side – out of the top-flight for the first time in 11 years – to Portman Road on August 18.

The Blues – now the Championship’s longest-serving side at 11th consecutive seasons following their disappointing 15th-place finish last time out – then travel to bogey side Watford three days’ later.

They then conclude a tough-looking opening month with their longest trip of the season; the 550-mile round journey to Blackpool – the side who lost May’s play-off final to West Ham.

There is added intrigue surrounding the Blues’ second Championship home game of the season (Sept 1). Huddersfield – promoted from League One via the play-offs – could arrive with former Town striker Jordan Rhodes. The former Kesgrave High School pupil, who has never played at Portman Road since Roy Keane controversially sold him in 2009, scored 40 goals for his club last season and continues to be linked with a host of Premier League clubs.

Paul Jewell’s team travel to newly-promoted Charlton on Boxing Day and host Brighton on New Year’s Day, while their Easter programme sees them play Leeds (H) followed by a trip to Millwall two days’ later (Monday).

Outside of the aforementioned festive fixtures, the Blues have an additional nine midweek matches – four of which are away from home. Wolves (Sept 18), Derby (Oct 23), Nottingham Forest (Nov 27), Watford (Feb 19) and Crystal Palace (April 16) are all due to visit Portman Road on a Tuesday night, while Town travel to Watford (Aug 21), Brighton (Oct 2), Crystal Palace (Nov 6) and Nottingham Forest (March 5) in midweek.

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Peterborough – the closest thing Town have got to an East Anglian rival – come to Portman Road on November 24, while the Blues travel to London Road on March 9, the latter a fixture they lost 7-1 in the early part of last season.

The Blues conclude their campaign with matches against Sheffield Wednesday (A), Birmingham (H) and Burnley (A) – the final fixture scheduled for May 4.