#FixtureReleaseDay: Fresh faces to the Sky Bet Championship

There are six new teams to the Sky Bet Championship in 2018/19 - some that have been in the division quite recently, and others that haven't graced the second tier for some time.

And in a special feature to mark Fixture Release Day, bwfc.co.uk has profiled the three ex-Premier League and three ex-League One sides who the Whites will be pitting their wits against this coming season.

2017/18: 2nd in Sky Bet League One (W29, D11, L6 - 96 points from 46 games)

Local rivals Blackburn Rovers return to the Sky Bet Championship after just a solitary season away, with them having finished as runners-up in the third tier of English football in 2017/18.

Narrowly pipped to the top spot by neighbours Wigan, the Ewood Park outfit lost just six league games all season long to ensure that their stay in Sky Bet League One was as brief as possible.

Wanderers will host Tony Mowbray's side on Saturday 6 October 2018, with Bolton making the trip to Ewood on Saturday 22 April 2019.

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2017/18: 4th in Sky Bet League One (W24, D7, L15 - 79 points from 46 games)

Like Blackburn, Rotherham have bounced back at the first time of asking after being relegated from the Sky Bet Championship in 2016/17 when they took just 23 points from their 46 games.

Last term however, they finished comfortably inside the top six - 11 points clear of seventh placed Plymouth Argyle - and proceeded to defeat Scunthorpe United in the semi-finals of the play-offs, winning 4-2 on aggregate.

Come the final at Wembley meanwhile, they eventually saw off the challenge of Shrewsbury Town but needed extra time to pick up a 2-1 victory to book their place back in the Sky Bet Championship.

Wanderers will come up against the Millers for the first time since 2015/16 this season, with a trip to the AESSEAL New York Stadium first up on Saturday 20 October 2018 while the Yorkshire outfit make the trip up to Macron Stadium on Boxing Day, Wednesday 26 December 2018.

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2017/18: 19th in the Premier League (W7, D12, L19 - 33 points from 38 games)

Returning to the second tier of English football for the first time since 2008 this term, Stoke City's run of ten seasons in the Premier League was brought to an end back in May as they finished three points adrift of safety.

During their last stay at this level, they won promotion to the top flight as runners-up behind champions West Bromwich Albion - another side who join them in the Sky Bet Championship in 2018/19 after their own relegation earlier this year.

The last meeting between Bolton and the Potters meanwhile came on the final day of the 2011/12 season when a 2-2 draw at the then-named Britannia Stadium saw the Whites fail to remain in the division.

And it is at the bet365 Stadium where the first meeting of the two sides this term will take place on Tuesday 2 October 2018, with the return fixture taking place on Saturday 29 December 2018 at BL6.

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2017/18: 18th in the Premier League (W8, D9, L21 - 33 points from 38 games)

After seven years at English football's top table, Swansea City are a Sky Bet Championship side once again after finishing 18th in 2017/18, level on points with the aforementioned Stoke City.

Swapping places with near neighbours Cardiff City, the Welsh outfit had never previously played Premier League football prior to their Play-off Final success in 2011.

For Wanderers, this coming season will be the first time they have crossed swords with the Swans since 2011/12, with them set to host Graham Potter's men on Saturday 10 November 2018 before making the long trip to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday 2 March 2019.

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2017/18: 20th in the Premier League (W6, D13, L19 - 31 points from 38 games)

Although they have spent eleven of the past 15 years in the Premier League, West Brom earned a reputation as something of a yo-yo side during the noughties - a tag which they appeared to have shaken off in recent seasons.

Boasting eight successive campaigns as a top flight side, even finishing 10th in 2016/17, the following season wasn't one to remember for the Baggies as they finished rock bottom of the division with just 31 points from their 38 outings.

Now faced with the prospect of life in the second tier once again, the Midlands outfit will be hopeful of replicating the bouncebackability that they showed in 2003/04 and 2009/10 when they spent just a solitary year back in the division.

For the Whites, they open their league campaign for 2018/19 with a trip to The Hawthorns on Saturday 4 August 2018, with the return fixture coming on Saturday 19 January 2019.

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2017/18: 1st in Sky Bet League One (W29, D11, L6 - 98 points)

Finally, our closest neighbours Wigan Athletic return to the Sky Bet Championship after just one season back in the third tier, although they bounced back in similar fashion back in 2015/16.

Topping the pile in Sky Bet League One with 98 points from their 46 games, the Latics secured the league title on the final day of the campaign with a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers.

And their return to the division, coupled with that of Blackburn's promotion and Wanderers' survival, means that the North West contingent in the Sky Bet Championship stands at four sides including Preston North End.

Fans will have to wait until December for the first meeting between the two teams however, with Wigan due to visit Macron Stadium on Saturday 1 December 2018, while the Whites return to the DW Stadium on Saturday 16 March 2019.

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