Sheffield United: Which month will the Blades find the toughest back in the Championship?

Chris Wilder's United romped to the League One title last term
Chris Wilder's United romped to the League One title last term

For many Blades fans, Sheffield United's promotion to the Championship well and truly sank in this morning when the EFL fixture list was announced.

Gone are trips to Southend, Oldham and Bury; instead, United are preparing trips to the likes of Sunderland and Derby. Not to mention their neighbours from across the Steel City, of course.

They kick off at home, which is always a bonus, against Brentford on August 5. Sunderland at home on Boxing Day is a mouthwatering clash, while the relatively short trip to Derby on New Year's Day is an intriguing start to 2018.

The old cliche is that there are no easy games in the Championship, and a cursory glance at United's schedule for 2017/18 only confirms it. September, where they face away trips to Sunderland, Bolton, Wednesday and Forest and face Norwich and Wolves at home, looks a tricky month but at least that early on in the season, at least some momentum and confidence from last season's title win should still be in United's system.

For me, it is January that could prove United's toughest month of the season; trips away from home to Derby and Norwich, with home games against Wednesday and Aston Villa.

United have relegated Middlesbrough second game up at the Riverside, a chance to hit them while they're still hurting from last season's relegation from the Premier League and before they can find their feet in the Championship. Another game to look out for; Bristol City away on the final day of the season.

Could their be something riding on that game for United, at either end of the table, or will it simply be a 350-mile round trip for a dead rubber? Only time will tell. And we all look forward to finding out!