After almost half a year, League One football returns this weekend. We’ve covered the Gas and our personal predictions, so here is a brief glance of all of our opponents for the season ahead!
Nickname – Stanley
Manager – John Coleman
Stadium – Crown Ground
Star man – Sean McConville
Last season – 17th
Prediction – 21nd
Accrington Stanley’s miracle continues and they and manager John Coleman continue to defy the odds as they maintained their third consecutive season in League one. Stanley, who operate one a shoestring budget, will largely be hoping for another survival but may have wider eyes for a mid-table finish.
Ins and outs – Stanley have lost a few notable players this summer, including star man Jordan Clark, full-back Callum Johnson and goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov. In terms of fresh faces, Newcastle pair Tom Allen and Mo Sangare arrived on loan and centre back Cameron Burgess was the promising permanent transfer for Stanley thus far.
Stanley fans are always optimistic and they always seem to defy the odds, but I feel this season, especially with the departures, I feel it will be a step too far.
Nickname – The Dons
Manager – Glyn Hodges
Stadium – Plough Lane
Star man – Will Nightingale
Last season – 20th
Prediction – 22nd
Wimbledon enter their 19th year since the rebirth and everything that happens to them is progress! Their promotion to the Football League seemed special enough, but to be fairly settled in England’s bronze tier has made it a miraculous two decades.
Ins and Outs – Wimbledon retained most of last season’s senior squad but did lose the experience of Scott Wagstaff and defender Rod McDonald. Ollie Palmer looks a shrewd piece of business for the Dons, who did struggle for goals last season. Elsewhere they snapped up Alex Woodyard and Ethan Chislett.
Wimbledon escaped by a whisker and possibly thanks to the premature end last season, I feel this time their luck will expire.
Nickname – The Seasiders
Manager – Neil Critchley
Stadium – Bloomfield Road
Star man – Liam Feeney
Last season – 13th
Prediction – 12th
Blackpool have had a turbulent few years since their brief Premier League stint but now look settled at board level with the departure of the Oysten family, and with an exciting young manager, Blackpool will hope to rekindle those glory days in the near future.
Ins and Outs – Blackpool lost a touch of experience over the summer, Sean Scannell, Jay Spearing and others moving on to new challenges. On the plus side, the Seasiders brought in a strong calibre of talent, including playmaker Jerry Yates and midfielder Ethan Robinson.
Blackpool are a tough one to predict this season, a second season post Oysten, a first full season under Critchley and a fairly mixed transfer window. I’m going with a small climb this season but a play off push wouldn’t surprise me.
Nickname – Brewers
Manager – Jake Buxton
Stadium – Pirelli Stadium
Star man – Joe Powell
Last season – 12th
Prediction – 16th
Burton have only been a football league club for 11 years but it has certainly never been dull. They spent 2 years in the Championship only a few years ago but have slowly deteriorated since then. Jake Buxton is entering his first foray into management whilst still being registered as an eligible player.
Ins and Outs – It has been a relatively quiet transfer window in both directions for the Brewers. The release of Scott Fraser the only notable loss. Burton seem to be opting for experience for the new season, bringing in Luke Varney and Michael Botswick.
Burton have slowly sunk further into League One since returning to the third tier and the loss of Nigel Clough could hit them hard this season. I don’t think they’ll be in dramatic trouble but I don’t see a promising season ahead.
Nickname – The Addicks
Manager – Lee Bowyer
Stadium – The Valley
Star Man – Jonny Williams
Last season – 22nd (Championship)
Prediction – 4th
Charlton will still be reeling after going down despite problems for Sheffield Wednesday and will be hoping to bounce straight back under Lee Bowyer this season.
Ins and Outs – Charlton have largely retained their team from the Championship last season but did lose striker Lyle Taylor and former Gas man Tom Lockyer. The Addicks have only made 2 signings so far but they certainly aren’t low on quality, with creative Alex Gilbey and striker Conor Washington coming to the Valley.
Charlton will need to tighten at the back after Lockyer’s exit and find goals in the absence of Lyle Taylor, but I predict a fairly solid season, even if it’s unlikely to be automatic promotion.
Nickname – The Railwaymen
Manager – David Artell
Stadium – Gresty Road
Star man – Charlie Kirk
Last season – 2nd (League Two)
Prediction – 19th
Crewe Alex return to League One following a perhaps unlikely promotion last season. Gibraltar national and former Crewe player David Artell has done a remarkable job in just two years in senior management and will hope to further cement his legacy in the third tier this season.
Ins and Outs – Perhaps unsurprisingly, Crewe didn’t find it difficult to keep players following promotion, but may feel the loss of midfielder James Jones. On the positive, they have made several signings with experience at this level, most notably Omar Beckles and Mikael Mandron.
The step up has often proved a steep one but with a promising manager and a good transfer window, Crewe will probably be safe and could even push towards mid-table.
Nickname – Donny
Stadium – Keepmoat Stadium
Manager – Darren Moore
Star Man – Ben Whiteman
Last season – 9th
Predictions – 12th
Doncaster Rovers are always a team to watch in League One, having play off runs and consecutive top half finishes despite only being promoted in to this league in 2017. Manager Darren Moore has won lots of plaudits in a short spell as a manager and the former Doncaster player will hope for a succesful second season at the Keepmoat.
Ins and Outs – Doncaster’s biggest lost is no doubt that of Kieron Sadlier, the clubs top scorer last season. They also released forward Devante Cole and winger Matty Blair. Donny haven’t made a ton of tranfers but did secure moves for Jason Lokilo and defender Cameron John.
Doncaster are never ones to rule out but I feel the loss of Sadlier will see them drop a few places, but they certainly can’t be ruled out of a play off spot.
Nickname – Cod Army
Stadium – Highbury
Manager – Joey Barton
Star man – Callum Camps
Last second – 6th
Prediction – 8th
Fleetwood enter their 7th season in League One and have been nearly men for a few years now. Mild mannered Joey Barton will still not be happy following last seasons play off mauling at the hands of Wycombe and will want to go one better.
Ins and Outs – Fleetwood have had a very busy summer, starting with the loss of a few key players including Kyle Dempsey, Ashley Hunter and Lewis Coyle. On the plus side their recruitment is promising, snapping up centre mid pairing Jordan Rossiter and Callum Camps as well as the experienced Mark Duffy.
Difficult to predict with the Cod Army. They’ve replaced good lost talent with good new talent and are always contenders. I predict them being edged out of the play offs, but barely.
Nickname – Gills
Stadium – Priestfield
Manager – Steve Evans
Star man – Kyle Dempsey
Last season – 10th
Prediction – 13th
Gillingham are another team who have been a League One club for a long time. They had a strong season last year under Steve Evans and will be hoping for further improvement this.
Ins and Outs – Gillingham have had something of an overhaul this summer, losing two main players to the Gas – Brandan Hanlan and captain Max Ehmer. However the signings has settled fears at Priestfield, not least the signings of midfielder Kyle Dempsey, winger Jordan Graham and striker Vadaine Oliver.
Gillimgham could surprise a few again this season having made some astute signings but I feel the loss of their captain and quaility elsewhere will notch them down the table.
Nickname – The Tigers
Stadium – KCOM Stadium
Manager – Grant McCann
Star man – Greg Docherty
Last season – 24th (Championship)
Prediction – 7th
Hull will need to quickly recover from possibly the biggest half season drop of all time last season, losing 16 of the final 20 games to go from top half to rock bottom. Grant McCann has been given the chance to recover and will hope for a swift return.
Ins and Outs – Hull have perhaps not surprisngly lost a few of their stars, most notably Jackson Irvine, Jon toral and Markus Henriksen. On the flip side, Hull have brought in quality replacements including playmaker Greg Docherty and right back Lewie Coyle.
It can be really difficult to halt declining momentum and the loss of several big names mean it’s hard to make a case for an immediate return, even through the play offs.
Nickname – The Tractor Boys
Stadium – Portman Road
Manager – Paul Lambert
Star man – James Norwood
Last season – 11th
Prediction – 5th
Ipswich had a disappointed first season back in League One last season after 17 years in the second tier before then. Paul Lambert has remained at the helm and will hope for exponential improvement this year.
Ins and Outs – Ipswich have had arguably the quietest window in the league so far, losing only 4 players and bringing in 5. Striker Will Keane and winger Jordan Roberts departing and forward Oliver Hawkins and left back Stephen Ward arriving.
Ipswich fans may not have too much optimism after last season and a quiet window but is more than enough quality in the side to improve and push towards a return to the Championship.
Nickname – The Imps
Stadium – Sincil Bank
Manager – Michael Appleton
Star man – Callum Morton
Last season – 16th
Prediction – 15th
Lincoln enter their 2nd season in League One after a relatively quiet first. Michael Appleton still has big shoes to fill following the Cowley brothers departure last year and will want to impress on his first full season at Sincil Bank.
Ins and Outs – Lincoln have overhauled this season, with double figure outgoings and in-comings over a long summer. Notable losses including midfielder Jack Payne and defenders Cian Bolger and Michael Botswick. Lincoln will be delighted with the loan of forward Callum Morton and the signings of Liam Bridcutt and Adam Jackson.
Lincoln do have potential to improve but I feel they’ll be in for another season of safe but not particularly exciting.
Nickname – Dons
Stadium – Stadium MK
Manager – Russell Martin
Star man – Richard Keogh
Last season – 19th
Prediction – 21st
Mk Dons enter their 17th year of being a professional club and were perhaps lucky to escape the drop via points per game last season. Russell Martin is entering his first full season of management and will look for a smoother ride this time around.
Ins and Outs – MK dons have lost an awful lot of talent for the upcoming season, including top scorer Rhys Healey, playmaker Ben Reeves and midfielder Alex Gilbey. On the positive MK shocked the market with the signing of Richard Keogh. He alongside fellow new boys Carlton Morris and Louis Thompson could call for optimism.
Mk Dons as stated above were perhaps lucky to survive last season and this time I feel the luck runs out.
Nickname – The Cobblers
Stadium – Sixfields
Manager – Keith Curle
Star Man – Chris Lines (yes I’m biased)
Last season – 7th (League Two)
Prediction – 23rd
Northampton achieved a terrific and perhaps unforeseen promotion last season via the play offs and they’ll have ambitions for another successful season this year.
Ins and Outs -The Cobblers have had a busy window but will certainly feel the pain of losing player of the year Charlie Goode and striker Vadaine Oliver. Northampton have boosted their attack with loan pair Benny Ashley-Seal and Joe Nuttall and also secured defender Cian Bolger.
The Cobblers will hope to defy the odds again but I feel the step up will be too large this time around.
Nickname – Yellows
Stadium – Kassam Stadium
Manager – Karl Robinson
Star Man – Cameron Brannagan
Last season – 4th
Prediction – 6th
Oxford will need to quickly pick up from the disappointment of a play off final defeat a few months ago and they will 100% be aiming for play offs or better this season.
Ins and Outs – Oxford retained the majority of the squad that came so close last year, but may feel the loss of loanees returning such as Ben Woodburn and Marcus Browne. The Yellows will be boosted by the permanent signing of Matt Taylor as well as midfielder Sean Clare.
Oxford will undoubtedly be up there again this season and will aim for automatic promotion, I think that will be a step too high but certainly anticipate a challenge.
Nickname – Posh
Stadium – London Road
Manager – Darren Ferguson
Star man – Mohamed Eisa
Last season – 7th
Prediction – 2nd
Peterborough were reeling last season after their 6th place pre-lockdown was demoted to 7th via points per game and they missed out on the play offs. Manager Darren Fergusen is on his third separate spell at the club and it feels like its now or never.
Ins and Outs – Posh’s main loss was that off influential top scorer Ivan Toney but will also miss Marcus Maddison who permanently completed his move away after a saga last year. Posh raided Bristol this summer with Sam Szmodics from the red side and of course Jonson Clarke-Harris from blue.
Posh have been nearly men for far too long and it would be a disaster if another season passed without promotion. I think this year they finally end the hoodoo and achieve a much needed promotion.
Nickname – Pilgrims
Stadium – Home Park
Manager – Ryan Lowe
Star man – Danny Mayor
Last season – 3rd
Prediction – 14th
Plymouth are back in League One after a season in the league below and will hope for stability and progress going forwards. Ryan Lowe has achieved back to back promotions with two separate clubs and is building quite the reputation.
Ins and Outs – Plymouth lost influential midfielder Antoni Sarcevic after four years and also let go of winger Callum McFadzean. It has been a busy summer for Plymouth, resigning keeper Luke McCormick, striker Frank Nouble and winger George Cooper.
Argyle look arguably the stronger of the four newly promoted sides and should look forward to a relatively safe season and a chance to build on recent success.
Nickname – Pompey
Stadium – Fratton Park
Manager – Kenny Jackett
Star Man – John Marquis
Last season – 5th
Prediction – 3rd
Pompey lost out in the play offs last season and will be aiming to go one better as their rise continues. Kenny Jackett has missed out a couple of times and he could well see this as now or never.
Ins and Outs – Pompey have a few spots they still need to fill this window having lost players such as Christian Burgess, Oliver Hawkins and Brett Pitman. Portsmouth have only made two senior permanent signings but both have good quality, centre back Sean Raggett and full back Callum Johnson.
Pompey are impossible to write off again this year and whilst I think they’ll miss out on the top 2, play offs seems destined for them.
Nickname – The Dale
Stadium – Spotland
Manager – Brian Barry-Murphy
Star Man – Matty Lund
Last season – 18th
Prediction – 24th
Rochdale have been in League One for 6 years and manager Brian Barry-Murphy is entering his second full season at the helm. They have struggled for a few seasons and he’ll be hoping to turn things around this time.
Ins and Outs – Rochdale have had a tough summer, losing arguably up to 5 key players including influential striker Ian Henderson and midfielder Callum Camps. Rochdale have had a quiet window but did bring it Man city loan pair Gavin Bazunu and Yeboah Amankwah.
The Dale have skated with relegation for a few seasons now and I think this time, especially with the players who have departed, i think this is the year they crash out.
Nickname – Shrews
Stadium – New Meadow
Manager – Sam Ricketts
Star Man – Aaron Pierre
Last season – 15th
Prediction – 17th
Shrewsbury reached an unlikely play off semi-final just a couple of seasons ago but have failed to hit those heights ever since and feel more likely to be in a battle in the basement rather than hitting those heights anytime soon.
Shrews have had a quiet window on the whole, but did say goodbye to midfield pair Romain Vincelot and Josh Laurent. They were able to bring in goalkeeper Matiaja Sarkic and winger Josh Daniels, their only two permanent new faces.
Shrewsbury seem destined for another lower half stint and appear so far to have had a window with more quality out than in. Don’t see them looking over their shoulder but also cant see much cause for optimism.
Nickname – Black Cats
Stadium – Stadium of Light
Manager – Phil Parkinson
Star man – Lynden Gooch
Last season – 8th
Prediction – 1st
Sunderland are approaching now or never time after a pretty sub par time in the third tier. Phil Parkinson takes charge in his first full season at the club and nothing but promotion will be good enough.
Sunderland lost a few long standing players this summer, experienced forwards Duncan Watmore and Kyle Lafferty and of course centre back Jack Baldwin. The Black Cats spent less than previous windows this summer but certainly have some big new names, including Danny Graham and Aiden O’Brien.
Sunderland have failed to get it right so far but with the previous chunk of change spent alongside more talent arriving this season, it looks their year.
Nickname – The Robins
Stadium – County Ground
Manager – Richie Wellens
Star man – Michael Doughty
Last season – 1st
Prediction – 18th
Swindon eased themselves back into League One with a 1st place finish last season albeit with the aid of an early finish. They and Ritchie Wellens will hope for stability and progress from the off.
The main loss will be that of English football’s leading scorer last season Eoin Doyle as well as Keshi Anderson and Danny Rose. Swindon have replaced the missing firepower with two forwards, former Rovers man Tyler Smith on loan and Brett Pitman on a free.
Swindon look well placed to avoid an immediate return first time around and could well progress on in future seasons, safe but not spectacular is my shout.
Nickname – The Latics
Stadium – DW Stadium
Manager – Leam Richardson (caretaker)
Star Man – Joe Garner
Last Season – 23rd (deduction)
Prediction – 10th
Wigan went down in difficult circumstances last year despite actually finishing 13th. With a lot up in the air it’s difficult to see where they go and if they can be stable again anytime soon.
Wigan’s window story is one of extreme loss. Is hard to even condense to a few but perhaps most notable striker Kieffer Moore, winger Jamal Lowe and full back Antonee Robinson. With limited to no money, Wigan have had to promote from within but have signed attack minded Dan Gardner from Salford.
It is almost impossible to predict Wigan. With a new manager potentially arriving and still the outside chance of replacements coming in, who knows!
- Bristol Rovers
- MK Dons