Ipswich Town opening-day delights

Town fans celebrate after Grant Ward's hat-trick in the Ipswich Town v Barnsley (Championship) match

Town fans celebrate after Grant Ward's hat-trick in the Ipswich Town v Barnsley (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 06 August 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

The new Championship fixtures are released today, with Ipswich Town set for their 16th successive campaign in the second tier of English football.

Grant Ward celebrates the first goal of his hat-trick, against Barsnley, in 2016.

Grant Ward celebrates the first goal of his hat-trick, against Barsnley, in 2016. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

The opening day is a time for optimism and positivity as fans ponder what the new season could hold, while many supporters will get their first glimpses of their club’s new signings.

Town’s record on the opening day, since turning professional in 1936 is a good one, the Blues having won 30 and drawn 25 of their 74 games (Results during the World Ward Two era were not officially recognised).

Ipswich’s recent record is good too, the Blues last losing a game on the opening day in 2013 when a Jay Tabb goal against his former club was not enough to stop a 2-1 defeat away at Reading.

Last season’s curtain-raiser was particularly memorable for Grant Ward who, on his debut for the club, entered the fray as a half-time substitute and became an instant hero as he scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 home win against Barnsley.

David McGoldrick scores Town's second goal against Fulham in the Blues' 2-1 win in 2014.

David McGoldrick scores Town's second goal against Fulham in the Blues' 2-1 win in 2014. - Credit: Ashley Pickering

There have several more unforgettable Town games both home and away, on the opening day and we have produced a gallery of action of some of the best from recent times.

Aaron Cresswell and Lee Martin celebrate with Michael Chopra in 2011, during the 3-0 win at Bristol

Aaron Cresswell and Lee Martin celebrate with Michael Chopra in 2011, during the 3-0 win at Bristol City. - Credit: Archant

Tommy Smith is congratulated after scoring for Town in their 3-0 win at Middlesbrough in August 2010

Tommy Smith is congratulated after scoring for Town in their 3-0 win at Middlesbrough in August 2010. - Credit: BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Nicky Forster scores the first goal of the season at Portman Road, against Cardiff, in 2005.

Nicky Forster scores the first goal of the season at Portman Road, against Cardiff, in 2005.

Dean Bowditch (centre) celebrates with Shefki Kuqi and Kevin Horlock during the win over Gillingham

Dean Bowditch (centre) celebrates with Shefki Kuqi and Kevin Horlock during the win over Gillingham in 2004

Marcus Bent scores in the win at Walsall in 2002.

Marcus Bent scores in the win at Walsall in 2002.

Gavin Johnson scores Town's first Premier League goal, against Aston Villa, in 1992.

Gavin Johnson scores Town's first Premier League goal, against Aston Villa, in 1992.