McDonald faces exhausting start

Neil McDonald

Neil McDonald

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Neil McDonald kicks off his career as Blackpool manager by travelling 900 miles in four days.

The League One fixture list revealed yesterday has dealt Pool a 550-mile round trip to Essex to face Colchester on the opening day, August 8.

It means an exhausting start to the season for Pool’s players and supporters, who have been drawn at Northampton in the Capital One Cup, a first round tie now confirmed for Tuesday, August 11 (7.45pm).

The first of the much-anticipated derbies between Blackpool and Fleetwood will take place at Bloomfield Road on November 28.

The Highbury rematch must wait until the closing weeks of the season, April 23.

Pool’s new playing surface will receive its first tests with two games in four days: a tasty derby against Rochdale on the second Saturday of the season before promoted Burton arrive the following Tuesday.

That’s the first of six league games scheduled for Tuesday nights, four of them at home.

Holiday fixtures see Oldham visit Bloomfield Road on Boxing Day and Bury at Easter, while a trip to Burton will usher in the New Year on January 2. The season will end on a real tough note – the trip to Fleetwood is followed by a final home game against Wigan and a long trip to Peterborough on the last day.

Wigan, fresh from a second relegation in three seasons, visit Coventry on the opening day. Also in League One, Nigel Adkins’ reign at Sheffield United begins with a lengthy trip to Gillingham.