There will be seven new teams to Sky Bet League One ready to begin the 2017/18 season in the third tier once that first whistle is blown in August. We are profiling each of those seven teams, who will all be coming up against the Bantams this coming campaign.
This time around, it’s Blackburn Rovers.
Blackburn Rovers’ relegation into the third tier is pretty significant for many reasons. The club won the Premier League in 1994/95 guided by Kenny Dalglish and the deep pockets of the owner, Jack Walker. Rovers are the only team that have won the Premier League but aren’t still in the top tier and in fact, this coming campaign will be the club’s first in the third tier since 1979/80.
The Bantams haven’t faced their East Lancashire neighbours since April 1990 at Valley Parade, when the visitors earned a narrow 1-0 victory. The clash at Ewood Park on the first day of the decade finished in a 2-2 draw. The two clubs went their separate ways following that campaign and the meetings this season will be the first competitive fixtures in roughly 27 years.
The Ewood Park outfit have found life difficult since relegation from the top flight in 2012 and after a 15th place finish in 2015/16, the club couldn’t escape the drop last season despite putting up a real fight. The fight went down to the wire with Rovers taking 11 points from their final five matches, but a run of seven without a win prior to that didn't help their cause and despite a win at Brentford on the final day, a win for Nottingham Forest against Ipswich Town meant that it was heartbreak for Tony Mowbray’s men.
In Tony Mowbray, Rovers have an experienced manager who has been in charge at this level and levels above this one. Appointed the day after Owen Coyle’s dismissal in late February, Mowbray arrived after leaving Coventry City just under five months earlier; earlier in his career he had been in charge at Hibernian, West Bromwich Albion, Celtic and Middlesbrough and he carries the weight of his side being backed early on as the division title favourites.
Mowbray may have to do a spot of rebuilding and prepare themselves for losing the likes of Jason Lowe, Hope Akpan, Danny Guthrie and Wes Brown but SkyBet.com, the EFL’s official betting partner have the club with odds at 15/8 to bounce back with an immediate return to the Championship and 11/2 to win the title outright.
Many City fans will be able to look forward to their first ever trip to Ewood Park this coming campaign to take on a team many already believe to be one of League One’s big hitters.