League One fixtures 2018-19: Sunderland begin at home to Charlton

Sunderland players after being relegated
Sunderland's last game in England's third tier was a 4-1 win at Rotherham in May 1988

Sunderland will begin their first campaign in England's third tier for more than 30 years with a lunchtime kick-off at home to Charlton Athletic.

Their first away game is at promoted Luton Town seven days later, as new boss Jack Ross aims to stabilise the club after two successive relegations.

Joey Barton's first game in charge of Fleetwood is against AFC Wimbledon.

League Two champions Accrington Stanley start their first ever season in the third tier at home to Gillingham.

Burton and Barnsley, who were both relegated from the Championship on the final day of last season, open with home games against Rochdale and Oxford United respectively.

The EFL's youngest manager - Bradford City's 32-year-old Michael Collins - gets his first taste of life in the dugout away at Shrewsbury Town, who were beaten by Rotherham in last season's play-off final.

Luton's first game in the third tier for more than a decade is away at Portsmouth, while Coventry host Scunthorpe and fellow League Two promotees Wycombe start at home to Blackpool.

Opening League One fixtures

Saturday, 4 August, 15:00 BST kick-off unless stated

  • Accrington Stanley v Gillingham
  • Barnsley v Oxford United
  • Burton Albion v Rochdale
  • Coventry City v Scunthorpe United
  • Fleetwood Town v AFC Wimbledon
  • Peterborough United v Bristol Rovers
  • Portsmouth v Luton Town
  • Shrewsbury Town v Bradford City
  • Southend United v Doncaster Rovers
  • Sunderland v Charlton Athletic (12:30 BST)
  • Walsall v Plymouth Argyle
  • Wycombe Wanderers v Blackpool

Sunderland: New hope under new ownership?

Stewart Donald
Stewart Donald says Sunderland is under no pressure to sell players before the new season

After several years of struggles, Sunderland fans go into the new season with new owners after former Eastleigh chairman Stewart Donald took over at the Stadium of Light in May.

They host Bradford City on Boxing Day and have an 800-mile round trip to Plymouth Argyle - the longest in the EFL - on 3 November.

While former owner Ellis Short wiped the club's debts upon selling Sunderland, they will still have the highest payroll as players on Premier League contracts are still at the club.

However, with a multi-million pound top-flight parachute payment arriving, they will be among the favourites for promotion this season.

New managers, new ideas?

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton
Joey Barton played 432 games in England and Scotland but has no previous managerial experience

As many as eight clubs could start the season with new managers - a third of the division - and at least five of them have never managed at League One level before.

The most eye-catching name is Barton, but the one-time England midfielder is by no means alone when it comes to taking charge of a first game in the third tier.

New Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel, Sunderland's Ross, Collins at Bradford and Shrewsbury's John Askey are also League One newcomers - but will their appointments be a breath of fresh air, or a gamble that does not pay off?

Scunthorpe's Nick Daws was caretaker manager last season and guided the Iron to the play-off semi-finals before his subsequent appointment, while Lee Bowyer is still Charlton's caretaker manager, as he has been since March.

Doncaster Rovers are currently managerless following Darren Ferguson's resignation earlier in June - whoever takes over will begin their campaign away at Southend.