Five Plymouth Argyle talking points from 2024/25 Championship fixture list

Everyone can appreciate that it is impossible for the EFL to come up with fixture lists which completely satisfy all of their 72 clubs.

In the case of Plymouth Argyle, it must be even trickier given the club's remote location in the south-west of England, far away from their Championship rivals. Long distance journeys to away games on bank holidays or midweek nights in winter is nothing new for the Pilgrims - or the travelling Green Army.

That said, Argyle's 2024/25 fixture list has thrown up some shockers, including an away match on Boxing Day for an eighth successive season, and a trip to the north-east on Good Friday. Plymouth Live reporter Chris Errington has picked out five talking points from the schedule for the forthcoming campaign.

Read More: Expect numerous changes to 2024/25 Argyle fixture list

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AWAY ON BOXING DAY - YET AGAIN

For the eighth consecutive season, and the 10th time out of the last 12, Argyle have been handed an away Boxing Day game. In the past the fixtures have generally been reasonably close to Plymouth, although trips to Cheltenham Town (on three occasions) and last year to Cardiff City could hardly be called 'local'.

But this time around the Pilgrims will be playing in the east Midlands on December 26, when Coventry City will be their hosts. That is ranked 15th out of 23 when it comes to Argyle's longest away journeys for 2024/25 and is a round trip of close to 450 miles.

It means the Argyle players will have to spend Christmas Day night in a hotel, away from family and friends, and the travelling Green Army, who will still turn out in large numbers I am sure, will have to set their alarms for the early hours of Boxing Day.

MIDDLESBROUGH AWAY ON GOOD FRIDAY

Another common theme of recent Argyle fixture lists has been away games at the start of the four-day Easter holiday weekend. For example, the Pilgrims had to travel to Morecambe, not far short of the Lake District, on Good Friday in 2016 and 2023. Last year, they made the cross-country trek to Norwich City, a round trip of 680 miles, on Good Friday.

It is going to be even worse this season. Argyle will make their second longest trip of the season to play Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Good Friday, April 18. Only Sunderland involves more distance covered to get there and back (an additional 48 miles, for the record).

Yes, the club might pay up for the Argyle squad to fly to Teesside and back - they did last season - but travelling long distances at Easter even by air is not guaranteed to be simple and straightforward. And, again, what about the fans, many of whom will make the time-consuming trip by car or coach?

OFF TO NORWICH ON A TUESDAY NIGHT

Last season it was a Good Friday trip to play Norwich City at Carrow Road. This time around Argyle will be there on a Tuesday night in winter - November 26 to be exact.

Again, the Argyle squad could fly to East Anglia but they will either have to return to Plymouth by coach immediately afterwards - getting back to Plymouth at I would guess 5am on the Wednesday morning - or stay up there overnight and then fly back the next day.

A day of travelling (even by plane) on the Wednesday would be far from ideal preparation for another away game - this time against Bristol City at Ashton Gate - on Saturday, November 30. Those are two very tough back-to-back away fixtures for the Pilgrims to plan for.

SCHUMACHER REUNION WITH ROONEY

Former League One title-winning Argyle manager Steven Schumacher will return to the city which he and his family called home when Stoke City are one of the early season visitors to Plymouth.

The fixture on Saturday, August 31 will be the first time that Schumacher has been back to Home Park since his abrupt departure for Stoke six days before Christmas last year. It will also see him come up against his former Everton under-18s' team-mate Wayne Rooney, who were part of the Toffees' squad which reached the FA Youth Cup final in the 2001/02 season but lost 4-2 on aggregate to Aston Villa.

Schumacher guided Stoke to a 3-0 win against Argyle at the bet365 Stadium in April, which effectively secured their Championship safety, but it was clear from his demeanour that coming up against his former club, where he had spent four-and-a-half very successful years, and the 'mixed' reception he got from the Green Army was not an experience he particularly savoured.

NINE MIDWEEK MATCHES, FIVE ON THE ROAD

I cannot imagine Burnley will relish travelling to Home Park on a Wednesday night - January 22 to be precise. It is a long way from east Lancashire. However, it is worth pointing out that Argyle are scheduled to play the Clarets at Turf Moor on Tuesday, October 1 so that levels it out, so to speak.

Burnley are one of four clubs who the Pilgrims will only play at home and away on midweek nights as it stands. The others are Millwall, Swansea City and League One champions Portsmouth, while Argyle will be away to Norwich on a Tuesday evening but will host the Canaries on Saturday, April 5.

Clashes against Portsmouth are always lively affairs, regardless of whether you consider it a 'derby' or a rivalry, and playing the games this season under the floodlights at Home Park on Tuesday, November 5 and Fratton Park on Tuesday, March 11 will only add to the sense of occasion and the atmosphere inside both grounds.