We’ve moved one step closer to the start of the 2012/13 League One season at the County Ground with the release of the fixtures yesterday.
I wrongly guessed a trip to Doncaster Rovers would be the curtain raiser to league 1 football, but Town will be adding an extra 179 miles to that distance with a visit to Victoria Park and Hartlepool(s) United. Seeing as we’ve been hosts in the previous two campaigns on the opening day, an away trip always looked highly likely.
It’s fitting to visit Hartlepool at that time. Town travelled there for the opening fixture of the 2006/07 season and took away a superb 1-0 victory thanks to Lee Peacock and possibly the greatest Swindon debut by Peter Brezovan, saving two penalties and keeping Town in the game thanks to a string of other stops.
The real news in the fixture release is the final day and the visit to Scunthorpe. This away trip will be the fifth season in succession that we’ll end away from the County Ground; following visits to Peterborough United, Millwall, Tranmere and Bradford City.
Similarly, Town will have no Boxing Day action at the County Ground for the second season, which makes it only a single Boxing Day match as hosts in six seasons.
Overall the fixtures highlight the difficulty of the division. I’m struggling to spot any favourable run of opponents within the 46 rounds, as the fixtures are well spread with a ‘big name’ every month.
What is for certain is the final five fixtures of Doncaster (a), Crewe (h), Sheffield Utd (a), Stevenage (h) and Scunthorpe (a) is daunting.
We’ll have some detailed analysis on the difficulty of the fixtures ahead in the next few weeks…