New Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren will begin his managerial career with a home game against Arsene Wenger's Arsenal.

Last year's Premiership runners-up visit the Riverside Stadium on 18 August, where they are likely to hand debuts to summer signings Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Francis Jeffers.

The first Tyne-Tees derby of the season will take place on 8 September, when Newcastle make the short trip south, with the return game at St James' Park taking place on Boxing Day.

Newcastle meanwhile will begin their Premiership campaign in the capital against Chelsea and just a week later they play host to Sunderland. The Stadium of Light clash will take place on 23 February.

Peter Reid's men open their season against last season's surprise package, Ipswich Town. They travel to Teesside in October to take on Boro, with the Wear-Tees return game taking place on 29 January.

Hartlepool begin their assault on the Third Division with a home game against Mansfield. Darlington are the visitors to Victoria Park on 25 August with the return game at Feethams taking place on 5 January.

After a disastrous campaign last time around, Darlington will be bidding to make a winning start when they travel to Roots Hall to take on Southend in their opening game. The Quakers will bid an emotional farewell to Feethams when they entertain Scunthorpe on 13 April before moving to their new 25,000 all-seater stadium.

A FULL set of fixtures for all the region's teams will be available in tomorrow's Northern Echo.