For Yorkshire’s five managers at second-tier level, it will at least provide them with clarity in seeing where their sides really are at in Championship circles.
They have seven league games to fit in before then. Yet it is what happens in the remainder of the summer window which closes on September 1 which will probably decide their direction of travel.
As preparation goes, losing one of the best head coaches in the division just three weeks before the start of a new season in Carlos Corberan was bad enough for Huddersfield.
To see two big players and core leaders also subsequently leave for Nottingham Forest in Lewis O’Brien and Harry Toffolo has compounded matters somewhat.
Town – under the command of a Championship ‘rookie’ in Danny Schofield – have handled adversity before and come out on the other side.
So they must do so again, with six of the starters who lined up against Forest in the Championship play-off final almost exactly three months ago having all left the club since.
Speak to the power-brokers at Town and the signings of Jack Rudoni and Yuta Nakayama were always viewed as replacements for O’Brien and Toffolo.
The loan return of Tino Anjorin from Chelsea is perhaps just as key. A lack of match sharpness ensured Town didn’t see the best of him last season. But he is seen as a ‘difference maker’ and the club beat off plenty of rival second-tier interest to sign him.
Rudoni, who appeared at AFC Wimbledon, was regarded as one of the best young midfielders in the EFL. Japan international Nakayama, a ball-carrying, flexible left-sided defender, caught the eye in Dutch football.
Should both step up and another serious forward option is brought in to supplement Jordan Rhodes and Danny Ward, then Town supporters will start to feel a bit better about things. Even if going close to anything like last season’s feats looks a tall order.
Like Town, United endured a cruel end to the last term at the hands of Forest. As with the Terriers, they must cope with the absence of a major influence from last season – in their case Morgan Gibbs-White.
The form of a new Premier League loanee, Reda Khadra – an explosive, direct player capable of sublime moments – will determine how keenly his loss is felt. Khadra’s combination with Iliman Ndiaye, who must avoid the perils of second-season syndrome, will also be crucial.
The addition of a proven Championship operator in Ciaran Clark will add ballast to a Blades defense who were generally mean last term.
No side conceded fewer goals than the Blades on home soil and if their resounding home form under Paul Heckingbottom continues in a similar vein, then they should be high up on the list of ‘best of the rest’ candidates capable of challenging the three relegated sides from the Premier League for promotion in 2022-23.
Another forward option would strengthen those claims. More especially given the injury issues this year surrounding mainly Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie, but also Billy Sharp.
Like the Blades, Chris Wilder’s Boro are seen as a side with the capacity to trade punches with Watford, Norwich and Burnley.
An eye-catching style makeover under Wilder, strong home form and some famous FA Cup nights suggest Boro are on the move again and there has also been a reconnection between the club and fans.
But Wilder is nobody’s fool. For his side to be truly among the big-hitters, it will depend on who they recruit on the striking front between now and September 1.
Boro had to be patient while Premier League sides sort out their squads. Marcus Forss is on the verge of signing and Rodrigo Muniz is close, with Wilder also in the market for others. His top-scorer last season was an attacking midfielder in Matt Crooks and no forward got into double figures.
At Hull, there is a feel-good factor for the first time in a good while at the start of a campaign.
Several continental additions have arrived, including two Turkish internationals in Ozan Tufan and Doğukan Sinik and a striker from the Turkish Super Liga in Benjamin Tetteh.
If City, who have top-six aims, pick up a few wins amid a testing start, that feeling will be fortified.
A note of caution must also be applied. Some key players and voices in the dressing room have also left in George Honeyman and Richie Smallwood, not to mention the jewel in the Hull crown in Keane Lewis-Potter.
Hull’s business is not finished yet. Acun Ilicali wants a couple of Premier League signings and City needs to find a ‘No 10’ to step into the not inconsiderable shoes of Honeyman. Defensive cover is also being shrewdly sought.
Rotherham find themselves in a place they are familiar with and in the same old conundrum.
Namely somehow finding a way to compete in a division against 23 rivals whose budgets comfortably outstrip their own.
Paul Warne said last season’s promotion was his greatest triumph. Keeping the Millers up would certainly surpass that.
To do that, the Millers – who have lost their talisman in Michael Smith – must turn straw into gold on the striking front in particular. They require some ‘oomph’ as Warne put it recently.
Should they bring in a couple more strikers between now and September – and get a few early-season wins – then United will at least have something to build on.