The football season is back this weekend and kicks off with Sheffield Wednesday v Southampton in the Championship’s opening game at Hillsborough on Friday night.
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The football season’s curtain raiser comes from Hillsborough in Sheffield on Friday night as the newly promoted Sheffield Wednesday take on the newly relegated Southampton in a Championship clash.
Both teams have employed new managers this summer ahead of the new season, with Friday’s hosts hiring the former Watford boss Xisco Munoz, while Southampton have signed the former Swansea manager Russell Martin.
Sheffield Wednesday were promoted back to the Championship last season after two seasons down in League One, sealing the deal by winning the play-off final by scoring a 123rd minute goal against Barnsley in extra time.
The Yorkshire side will be confident of maintaining in the Championship next season and may even fancy themselves as an outside bet for a play-off place, with Xisco having previous experience of earning promotion from this division.
The Spaniard took Watford up to the Premier League in the summer of 2021 but was sacked in October the following season despite being 15th after seven matches.
The Owls have made five new summer signings, including re-signing Ashley Fletcher from Watford, as well as the signings of young centre back Di’Shon Bernard from Manchester United on a free and Reece James (not that one) from Blackpool for an undisclosed fee.
Xisco has also gone abroad for two of his signings, picking up Pol Valentin of Spain from Sporting Gijon and the Chilean Juan Delgado from Pacos de Ferreira, both of whom are right backs.
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Southampton head into the new season as one of the favourites to earn promotion straight back to the Premier League, having held on to many of their star players from last season.
Martin has also added the signings of highly rated Manchester City teenage midfielder Shea Charles for around £11m, as well as picking up Ryan Manning on a free from Swansea, the club Martin managed last season.
The Saints finished rock bottom of the Premier League last season after 11 seasons in the top flight, falling six points short of the next lowest place team in Leeds, and 11 from safety.
The two teams met last season in the Carabao Cup third round, which the Saints won on penalties after a 1-1 draw, meaning they have now won all of the last four meetings.
Sheffield Wednesday haven’t got the better of Southampton since a Championship clash back in 2009.
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