Fixtures: Town sent to Coventry

IPSWICH Town have been sent to Coventry for their opening game of the 2009/10 season.

Elliot Furniss

IPSWICH Town have been sent to Coventry for their opening game of the 2009/10 season.

The Tractor Boys finished off last season with a 2-1 home success against the Sky Blues, and will fancy their chances against Chris Coleman's midland side on August 8.

Anticipation is high among Blues fans that this is going to be a campaign to remember under new manager Roy Keane, and if the team can get off to a good start this will swell.

After taking on Coventry, Ipswich travel to Shrewsbury on August 11 in the first round of the Carling Cup before starting their home programme with a game against promoted Leicester City on August 15.

The keenly anticipated tussles with Jim Magilton's Queens Park Rangers take place at Portman Road on Monday December 28 and at Loftus Road on Tuesday February 9, and the Blues have a Boxing Day trip to Crystal Palace.

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The Easter holiday sees the Blues at home to Reading on Saturday and at Derby County two days later while they wrap up the season with what could be crucial and tough looking matches against Newcastle away and Sheffield United at home.

Newcastle visit Suffolk on Saturday September 26 while the two other relegated sides play at Portman Road on Tuesday January 26 (West Brom) and Saturday February 6 (Middlesbrough).

Norwich City begin life in League One with a home East Anglian derby against Colchester United.

The compilation of the fixture list is a complicated business and done jointly by the Premier and Football Leagues. The process for today's announcement actually started a year ago when FIFA and UEFA released their match calendars.

But work in earnest began in March when a questionnaire was sent to clubs.

This was a club's opportunity to request specific dates they would like to avoid and specify one team they would like to avoid home clashes with. The questionnaire is then jointly signed off by the police and who draw attention to their own issues.

The Football League and Premier League then couple all of their 92 clubs into 46 pairings with each pairing unable to play at home on the same day.

West Ham are paired with Dagenham and Redbridge, however, for reasons of revenue Southend request they do not play at home on the same day as the Hammers as they believe it impacts upon their attendance.

But, for police reasons Southend and Colchester are both in Essex they cannot play together on the same weekend. Colchester share stewards with Ipswich so they request they do not play home games on the same weekend as Town, while transport links dictate Ipswich and Norwich do not play together on the same weekend either.

Throw into the mix that there are rules governing sequencing - for example clubs will play no more than two home games consecutively and, with one eye on the financial situation at lower league clubs, the games either side of an FA Cup fixture should not both be away from home - and the extent of the difficult task can be seen.

Next season there are 10 rounds of midweek Championship fixtures to squeeze in, plus the FA Cup and Carling Cups. Around 80% of club requests have been accommodated, but some long mid-week journeys are normally unavoidable.

N (SQUARE) TOWN are to play a reserve pre-season game at Ridgeons League Gorleston on Saturday July 11 (kick-off 3pm), a club where academy manager Sammy Morgan once played.

Town's annual game at British Gas Business Midland Division Bury Town's - part of the Ian Miller transfer three years ago - is pencilled in for Tuesday August 4.