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Newcastle will begin their season on a Friday for the first time in the club's history

The fixtures for the new Football League season were announced this morning.

Rafa Benitez has decided to stay on at St James' Park.
Rafa Benitez has decided to stay on at St James' Park.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

RAFAEL BENITEZ’S NEWCASTLE United will kick off the 2016-17 Football League season at Fulham on Friday 5 August after the fixtures were released this morning.

Relegated to the Championship last season, Newcastle will attempt to make an instant return to the top flight under the guidance of a man who started the previous term in charge of Real Madrid.

The club’s first home game will be against Huddersfield Town the following weekend.

Fellow relegated sides Aston Villa and Norwich City begin their campaigns at Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers respectively, while Burton Albion – in their maiden second-tier season – make the short trip to Nottingham Forest.

Newcastle’s trip to Craven Cottage as well as QPR’s clash with Leeds and Villa’s game against Sheffield Wednesday will be live on Sky Sports over the opening weekend.

Former Premier League clubs Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United meet in the pick of League One’s opening-day fixtures.

Blackpool, also a member of the elite as recently as 2010-11, start their bid for League Two glory at home to Exeter City.

Grimsby Town, back in the Football League after a six-year absence, host Morecambe.

Full Football League fixture list available here.

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