London: Fulham made a disappointing start to their bid for an immediate return to the Premier League with a 2-1 defeat at Ipswich Town in their opening English Championship match on Saturday.
A revamped Fulham team started with only former England midfielder Scott Parker from manager Felix Magath`s last Premier League lineup and fell behind to goals from Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick after an hour.
But the west London side, relegated after 13 seasons in the top flight, can take heart from a fightback that produced a goal five minutes from time from their new right back Tim Hoogland, who joined from Schalke 04.
"We have many new players. Maybe the first games will not be the football we want to play but we have to win them," Hoogland said to underline Fulham`s ambitions.
"I think it is always sad when you are relegated. I think Fulham is a big club and have to be in the Premier League," he told the BBC.
Former England manager Steve McClaren`s Derby County side, who lost last season`s playoff final to Queens Park Rangers, began their campaign for automatic promotion with a 1-0 win over promoted Rotherham United thanks to a late Jeff Hendrick goal.
"The result is very important, we always look for a performance but there was enough good play that shows we will get better and grow from this," said McClaren.
Derby stole an early march on fellow promotion hopefuls Wigan Athletic and Brighton & Hove Albion, with both of last season`s defeated playoff semi-finalists failing to win.
Wigan, the 2013 FA Cup winners, snatched a stoppage-time equaliser through James McArthur to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Reading while ex-Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia`s Brighton tenure began with a 1-0 loss to visitors Sheffield Wednesday.
Former Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce enjoyed his first game in charge of Nottingham Forest, who he regularly captained having made over 400 appearances for the club as a player, with a 2-0 home win over crisis-club Blackpool.
A mass exodus of 27 players left Blackpool with a squad of eight players, and no goalkeeper, for much of the pre-season.
The arrival of 12 players in 12 days prior to the season meant they could field a team for the match at Forest but could fill only four of the allotted seven substitute spots.
Michail Antonio and Chris Burke struck in the first half for the hosts as a disjointed Blackpool display indicated it could be a long season for their threadbare squad and the fans.
"All things considered I think it was a good result and we will build on that," said Forest manager Pearce.
"I thought we played very well in the first half but we tailed off in the second half, which disappointed me. I want my players to know we have to set our stall out, but there were mitigating circumstances today," he added.
Leeds United lost 2-0 at Millwall under their new boss Dave Hockaday, who was a shock appointment by owner Massimo Cellino having had no experience as a manager in league football, while Middlesbrough beat visiting Birmingham City by the same score.
Promoted Brentford secured a 1-1 home draw with Charlton Athletic thanks to a late goal by substitute Tommy Smith while Huddersfield Town were thrashed 4-0 at home by Bournemouth and Watford beat Bolton Wanders 3-0 at Vicarage Road.
Relegated Norwich City visit promoted Wolverhampton Wanders on Sunday while Cardiff City, who also lost their top-flight status last term, drew 1-1 at Blackburn Rovers on Friday.