Bristol City and Bristol Rovers happy with their opening run of games at the start of next season
BRISTOL City and Bristol Rovers have declared themselves happy with the starts they have been handed after the Football League released the fixture list for the 2012-13 campaign.
City have been handed an away trip to Nottingham Forest to begin their Championship campaign, while Mark McGhee and Rovers will host Oxford United in what will be the first time in three years they will have opened the season at the Memorial Stadium. Both games are scheduled to take place on August 18.
City have two home games in the following seven days against Crystal Palace and Cardiff City.
"I think we should be pleased with the start we've got," said City boss Derek McInnes.
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"The Nottingham Forest game is an exciting one for everyone concerned.
"It's a relatively short journey, so we should go there with a decent-sized support. Being away on the opening day gives us back-to-back home games to follow that up with, one of which being the derby against Cardiff City."
He added: "The release of the fixtures often gives you that feeling the new season is only just around the corner.
"There won't be any easy games – there are some big clubs in the Championship next season and I can't wait for the new campaign to come around."
Rovers face back-to-back away games after their opener against Oxford and manager Mark McGhee, pictured, said: "It is really good to get the first league match at home, however, it will be a difficult game as they came close to the play-offs last season.
"After drawing Ipswich in the Capital One Cup, we are really glad to be home for the first league game, as we did not want too much travelling.
"We then have two games away from home, which will be tough, we'll have to be well prepared."
City have been handed only their third home Boxing Day fixture in 15 years with the visit of Watford, before playing Peterborough United at Ashton Gate on December 29.
"I think being at home on Boxing Day is a real bonus for our supporters," said McInnes.
City begin 2013 with a trip to Millwall on January 1 and McInnes added: "We should enjoy good crowds for the matches over Christmas and it's another relatively short trip to Millwall on New Year's Day as well."
Rovers have a relatively advantageous Christmas programme in terms of travelling. A home game against Rotherham United on Saturday, December 22 is followed by a trip to face Aldershot on Boxing Day.
Plymouth provide the opposition at the Memorial Stadium on New Year's Day and chairman Nick Higgs said: "It is a shame we are away on Boxing Day, but at least Aldershot is a relatively short journey.
"Plymouth on New Year's Day will be another one to look forward to. It is the second year in a row we will play them over the festive period, although we will looking for a better result this time around."
Higgs added: "The release of the fixtures really focuses you on the coming campaign, and we will sit down and fully analyse these fixtures over the coming days.
"All the work we do over the summer will be gearing up for that first game. It is vital to get off to a good start if we aim to be challenging for promotion this season.
"Let's hope we can build on some of the performances we saw at the end of last season, because if we can, it should be a really exciting campaign."