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Club News

13/14 Club Guide: Part One

8 July 2013

Get the lowdown on our opponents

Take a look at who the Royals will be coming up against in the season ahead with Part One of our Championship opponents for 2013/14.

The Tykes retained their Championship status by the skin of their teeth last season by drawing 2-2 at Huddersfield, which was enough for them to finish one point and one place above Peterborough - who were relegated to League One.

The Oakwell faithful breathed a familiar sigh of relief on the 4th of May - as the Yorkshire outfit has flirted with relegation on a number of occasions in recent years. This was after a precarious first half to the 2012/13 campaign, which saw manager Keith Hill dismissed.

But his replacement, 39-year-old David Flitcroft, steadied the ship and results soon improved - particularly during their nine-game purple patch in January and February, as the Tykes remarkably won eight games and drew one in all competitions. Flitcroft will be hoping for a less nail-biting 2013/14 campaign, and has already been boosted by the news that former Royal Tomasz Cywka has penned a new one-year deal at Oakwell.

When we meet: Tuesday 1st October, 7.45pm (A) & Tuesday 25th March, 7.45pm (H)
Distance between us: 199 miles
Former Royal: Tomasz Cywka
Last five vs Barnsley: WWWLW

It was a mid-table finish in 2012/13 - a season which has been described by many as a year of transition for the midlands club.

There have certainly been some highs and lows for Blues supporters in recent years - perhaps epitomised in 2010/11 as they experienced the historic ecstasy of lifting the League Cup, but suffered the heartbreak of relegation on the final day of the Barclays Premier League season just months later.

It appears to be a summer of change for Birmingham this time around too - winger Nathan Redmond has departed for Norwich, while Fulham defender Dan Burn and Swansea defender Kyle Bartley are among the new recruits - both coming in on loan as the Blues aim for a promotion push in 2013/14.

When we meet: Saturday 28th September, 3pm (H) & Saturday 22nd March, 3pm (A)
Distance between us: 110 miles
Former Royal: Hayden Mullins
Last five vs Birmingham: WWLWD

The Royals will be looking forward to only their fifth fixture in 25 years against Blackburn who, in their first season outside the top flight since 2001, endured a disruptive campaign which saw five managerial changes.

Steve Kean led the Lancashire outfit to an excellent start to the 2012/13 campaign but form could not be maintained, and Kean was dismissed - while appointed managers Eric Black, Henning Berg and Michael Appleton were to in his footsteps.

Gary Bowyer took charge of Blackburn towards the end of the season on a caretaker basis, and was then appointed on a permanent basis after steering the side to a 17th placed position. Roverts will be boosted by the return of their former loanee DJ Campbell, and will hope to keep hold of much-coveted striker Jordan Rhodes.

When we meet: Saturday 23rd November, 3pm (A) & Saturday 22nd February, 3pm (H)
Distance between us: 226 miles
Former Rovers man: Nick Blackman
Last five vs Blackburn: DLDLD

Position-wise, it was a similarly low-key campaign for fellow Lancashire club Blackpool - who eventually finished the year in 15th spot, just five points clear of the drop zone and nine away from the sixth play-off place.

Ian Holloway, who guided Blackpool to the Premier League two seasons earlier, began the season in charge at Bloomfield Road - fresh from the disappointment of failing to join the Royals in getting promoted in 2012/13, after losing the play-off final to West Ham United.

The Tangerines lost Holloway to eventual play-off winners Crystal Palace in November - with Michael Appleton taking over before former Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince was installed in February. Despite a disappointing season Ince helped to ensure that Blackpool retained their Championship, who will be hoping for a better year this time around.

When we meet: Saturday 24th August, 3pm (A) & Tuesday 27th January, 7.45pm (H)
Distance between us: 241 miles
Former Tangerine: Nick Blackman (loan)
Last five vs Blackburn: DWLLW

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