Magpies open with Albion trip

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The harsh reality of life in the Coca-Cola Championship hit home for Newcastle on Wednesday as the fixture list for the new season was published.

With Alan Shearer still waiting in the wings to hear if he will be the club's new manager, the ramifications of relegation became abundantly clear.

They will launch their promotion campaign in familiar surroundings on August 8 with a trip to fellow relegated side West Brom, who make the reverse trip to St James' Park on January 16.

Derby rivals Middlesbrough, who also suffered the drop from the top flight at the end of last season, visit Tyneside on December 19 and welcome the Magpies to the Riverside on March 13.

However, other than that, the managerless Tyneside club finds itself in the company of the likes of Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Swansea and Plymouth for the first time for many years and facing a desperate scrap for a way out of the division.

The Baggies are the only club over whom Newcastle managed a Premier League double last season, while their second home game - Reading will be the first visitors on August 15 - will rekindle unhappy memories for Sheffield Wednesday, who lost 8-0 to Sir Bobby Robson's Newcastle in September 1999.

Wednesday will host the Magpies on Boxing Day, while the season will draw to a close at QPR on May 2.

But it is a measure of just how far the club has fallen in recent years that the home clash with Doncaster on October 24 will come seven years and a day after the mighty Juventus lost 1-0 at St James' in a Champions League tie.

The fixtures were released as potential buyers for the club started the process of due diligence after being granted electronic access to the books.

Interested parties who have proved they had the finances available to meet owner Mike Ashley's £100million asking price can from study the figures, although there is no cut-off point and those who have not yet made their move can still do so by contacting Seymour Pierce chairman Keith Harris.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Doncaster Rovers
West Bromwich Albion
Sheffield Wednesday
European News
Scunthorpe United
Premier League
Newcastle United
Alan Shearer
Derby County
UEFA Champions League
Queens Park Rangers
Plymouth Argyle
Swansea City

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