League One writers predict promotion and relegation

The Proact Stadium Pic By James Williamson
The Proact Stadium Pic By James Williamson
0
Have your say

The League One season is upon us, with Chesterfield making the trip to Oxford on Saturday in their campaign opener.

With new faces coming in at clubs across the division and new opposition from last season’s Championship and League Two, journalists covering each and every League One outfit have given an insight into the clubs they cover as a handy guide for supporters.

Read on to discover who will be visiting the Proact this season, and who the league’s journalists are tipping to go up and suffer the drop.

BOLTON WANDERERS

By Marc Iles, The Bolton News

CLUB MANAGER:

Phil Parkinson

GROUND:

Macron Stadium

Summer signings:

Chris Taylor, Mark Beevers, Mark Howard and Jamie Proctor.

Summer departures:

Rob Holding, Neil Danns, Liam Feeney and Emile Heskey.

Fans’ expectations:

Stability first and foremost. Club nearly hit the wall last season, so while squad should be good enough to reach play-offs, it is not expected.

One to watch:

Zach Clough: The little man has been watched by just about every Premier League club going. If he stays fit, Bolton will do well this season.

Random fact about your club:

Wanderers have spent more seasons in the top flight of English football without winning the title (72) than any other club.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Sheffield United, Bolton. Down: Rochdale,

Scunthorpe, Wimbledon, Oldham.

AFC WIMBLEDON

By Tim Ashton, Wimbledon Guardian

CLUB MANAGER:

Neal Ardley

GROUND:

The Cherry Red Records Stadium

Summer signings:

Chris Whelpdale, Dom Poleon, Ryan Clarke, Dean Parrett.

Summer departures: Adebayo Akinfenwa, Callum Kennedy, Adebayo Azeez, Sean Rigg

Fans’ expectations:

Most fans are expecting a tough season – this is after all their first in League One. Avoiding relegation should keep them happy, although last season’s exploits at Wembley have others dreaming of promotion.

One to watch:

Jake Reeves was the man pulling the strings in midfield last season, and I expect him to be one who relishes League One. He also has L1 experience with Brentford, so should be able to adapt quicker than most.

Random fact about your club:

The seeds of AFC Wimbledon’s creation were sown in The Fox and Grapes pub on Wimbledon Common in 2002 after the original side was allowed to relocate to Milton Keynes.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Millwall and Sheffield United. Down: Chesterfield, Shrewsbury Town, Bury and Scunthorpe United.

SCUNTHORPE UNITED

By Paul Crute, Scunthorpe
Telegraph

CLUB MANAGER:

Graham Alexander

GROUND:

Glanford Park 

Summer signings:

Josh Morris, Sam Mantom, Duane Holmes 

Summer departures:

Gary McSheffrey, Niall Canavan, Andrew Boyce, Sean McAllister, Dom Vose

Fans’ expectations:

After coming so close to making the play-offs last season, it should be the minimum aim for the Iron. With so many of last year’s players still at the club in addition to a couple of quality signings, a top six finish should be achievable. 

One to watch:

Paddy Madden – The Iron’s top scorer last season and one who is expected to score the bulk of the goals. Scored more than 20 last season and Iron need him to match that this season

Random fact about your club:

The last three seasons Scunthorpe United have started the season at home they have been promoted 

Predictions:

Up: Charlton Athletic, Scunthorpe United and Bradford City.

Down: Oldham, AFC Wimbeldon, Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers.  

COVENTRY CITY

By Andy Turner, Coventry
Telegraph

CLUB MANAGER:

Tony Mowbray

GROUND:

Ricoh Arena

Summer signings:

Marvin Sordell, Kwame Thomas, Chris McCann, Kyel Reid (subject to completion), Jodi Jones.

Summer departures:

Romain Vincelot, John Fleck, Aaron Martin, Reda Johnson, Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Fans’ expectations:

The same as last year really, play-offs minimum but, ultimately, promotion from a more consistent campaign rather than last year’s boom and slump that saw the Sky Blues set the division alight in the first four months and then fall agonisingly short in eighth, just five points off the top six mix.

One to watch:

Probably not signed him yet. Mowbray will draft in a handful of loans late in the window, as he did last term with Newcastle United’s Adam Armstrong going on to get 20 goals. Of the existing group, Jodi Jones is probably the most exciting - a quick and tricky young forward.

Random fact about your club:

The Sky Blues have not finished in the top six of any division for 46 years - beat that for misery!

Predictions:

Up: Sheffield United, Bolton, Millwall. Down: Oldham,

Shrewsbury, AFC Wimbledon, Rochdale.

ROCHDALE

By Richard Partington,
Manchester Evening News

CLUB MANAGER:

Keith Hill

GROUND:

Spotland

Summer signings:

Niall Canavan, Harrison McGahey, Oliver Rathbone

Summer departures:

Oliver Lancashire, Ashley Eastham, Rhys Bennett, Grant Holt

Fans’ expectations:

The club has over-achieved by challenging for a play-off place in the last two years so another season in which they fall just short of the top six but consolidate their status as a League One club is expected

One to watch:

Callum Camps emerged as a scorer of great goals from midfieldin his first full season last year and is attracting attention from Championship clubs

Random fact about your club:

Although Rochdale have never won a competition since joining the League in 1921, they have the distinction of playing in the final of the League Cup in 1962, the first of only two teams from the lowest tier to have done so.

Predictions:

Up: MK Dons, Sheffield United, Oxford. Down: Bury, Oldham, AFC Wimbledon, Fleetwood

NORTHAMPTON TOWN

By James Heneghan,
Northampton Chronicle and Echo 

CLUB MANAGER:

Rob Page

GROUND:

Sixfields

Summer signings:

Alex Revell, Gabriel Zakuani, Harry Beautyman, Jak McCourt, Aaron Phillips

Summer departures:

Ricky Holmes, Nicky Adams, Ryan Clarke, Danny Rose

Fans’ expectations:

Consolidation in League One after promotion. The loss of two key players from last season’s title-winning squad - Ricky Holmes and Nicky Adams - has somewhat tempered expectations. 

One to watch:

John-Joe O’Toole: Integral to last season’s success and was voted player of the season. Will need to replicate his efforts this time around if Northampton are to have another successful campaign. 

Random fact about your club:

In 1992, a group of Northampton Town fans set up the UK’s first ever supporters’ trust in response to a financial crisis at the club and a series of misleading statements by the then-chairman. 

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Sheffield United, Bristol Rovers. Down: Rochdale, Shrewsbury, Oldham, Port Vale 

SWINDON TOWN

By Matt Edwards, Swindon Advertiser

CLUB MANAGER:

Luke Williams (head coach)

GROUND:

County Ground

Summer signings:

John Goddard, Lawrence Vigouroux, Conor Thomas.

Summer departures:

Nicky Ajose, Miles Storey, Michael Smith, Ty Belford, Fabien Robert.

Fans’ expectations:

The expectations span the breadth of the spectrum, from promotion-pushers to staving off relegation. Realistically, most will be happy with a top-half finish.

One to watch:

John Goddard: The new signing from Woking has impressed in pre-season. A number 10 who likes to receive the ball on the edge of the box.

random fact about your club:

Swindon Town are the only team in the Football League who don’t have a letter that appears in the word mackerel.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, MK Dons, Millwall. Down: Oxford, Shrewsbury, Oldham, Fleetwood

OLDHAM ATHLETIC

By Matt Chambers, Oldham Evening Chronicle

CLUB MANAGER:

Stephen Robinson

GROUND:

SportsDirect.com Park

Summer signings:

Ryan Flynn, Peter Clarke, Paul Green, Connor Ripley and Billy McKay.

Summer departures:

Jonathan Forte, Liam Kelly, Joel Coleman, Mike Jones and Timothee Dieng.

Fans’ expectations:

What are the fans’ expectations this season? Ideally, to get into the top half of the table and have a stab at moving towards the play-off picture. In reality, it’s about hitting 50 points as soon as possible.

One to watch:

Billy Mckay. A striker who is on loan at the club from Wigan, his previous record suggests he is a player capable of scoring goals.

Random fact about your club:

There is a youth team player at the club called Ronaldo Brown. His twin brother is called Rivaldo and there is a sister called Trezeguet.

Predictions:

Up: Sheffield United, Millwall, Scunthorpe. Down: Port Vale,

Southend, Wimbledon, Bury.

MILLWALL

By Richard Cawley, South London Press

CLUB MANAGER:

Neil Harris

GROUND:

The Den

Summer signings:

Gregg Wylde, Shaun Hutchinson and David Worrall.

Summer departures:

Mark Beevers, Lee Martin, Carlos Edwards, Ed Upson.

Fans’ expectations:

Beaten League One play-off finalists. Boss Neil Harris has kept core performers and they should be top-six material again with the Den an intimidating place for the opposition again.

One to watch:

Steve Morison: Struck up a deadly partnership with Lee Gregory. Scored 19 goals and assisted a load too. A streetwise veteran.

Random fact about your club:

Millwall have a striped shirt – breaking from the traditional all-blue – to replicate the kit worn by the Lions side that went 59 home league games unbeaten half a century ago.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Millwall, Sheffield United. Down: Northampton,

Oldham, Port Vale, Chesterfield.

CHARLTON

By Richard Cawley, South
London Press

CLUB MANAGER:

Russell Slade

GROUND:

The Valley

Summer signings:

Nicky Ajose, Ricky Holmes, Lee Novak.

Summer departures:

Nick Pope, Jordan Cousins, Johann Berg Gudmundsson,

Stephen Henderson, Igor Vetokele.

Fans’ expectations:

Fancied – especially with the experience of Russell Slade in the Valley hotseat. But they have not get a bedded-in squad after a hectic summer of player upheaval which makes the challenge greater for the former Cardiff and Orient boss. Play-offs should be achieved.

One to watch:

Ricky Holmes. Looks set to be an entertainer and is coming off a blistering season for Northampton Town. Could fill the role of fans’ favourite that hasn’t been filled properly since Yann  Kermorgant.

Random fact about your club:

Owner Roland Duchatelet has not been at a Charlton match since October 21 2014 – a 2-1 win over Bolton.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Millwall, Sheffield United. Down: Northampton, Oldham, Port Vale, Chesterfield.

MK DONS

By Toby Lock, MK Citizen

CLUB MANAGER:

Karl Robinson

GROUND:

Stadium MK

Summer signings:

Ed Upson, Paul Downing, George Williams.

Summer departures:

Carl Baker, Alex Revell, Lee Hodson, Kyle McFadzean.

Fans’ expectations:

Given the lack of summer signings, the fans are expecting a mid-table finish. If the club decides to put their hands in their pockets, a play- off finish should be a minimum requirement.

One to watch:

Ben Reeves had a difficult, injury-ridden season in the Championship, but shone in League 1. He needs to keep fit, but will be one of the most creative outlets in Dons’ side.

Random fact about your club:

Both Tore Andre Flo and Dietmar Hamann came out of retirement to play for MK Dons. Flo missed the decisive penalty in the play-off semi-final against Scunthorpe.

Predictions:

Up: Bolton, MK Dons, Oxford. Down: Bury, Fleetwood, Rochdale, Gillingham.

OXFORD UNITED

By David Pritchard, Oxford Mail

CLUB MANAGER:

Michael Appleton

GROUND:

Kassam Stadium

Summer signings:

Wes Thomas, Chris Maguire, Curtis Nelson, Aaron Martin, Simon Eastwood.

Summer departures:

Kemar Roofe, Callum O’Dowda, Danny Hylton, Johnny Mullins.

Fans’ expectations:

It’s 15 years since the U’s were last in the third tier, so anything above mid-table would be viewed as a successful season.

One to watch:

John Lundstram: The elegant midfielder pulls the strings for Appleton’s side and has been appointed captain during the summer.

Random fact about your club:

‘Big’ Ron Atkinson is the club’s record appearance holder, racking up 562 games between 1959 and 1971.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Millwall, Sheffield United. Down: Fleetwood, Shrewsbury, Wimbledon, Oldham.

BURY

By Mikael McKenzie, Bury Times

CLUB MANAGER:

David Flitcroft

GROUND:

Gigg Lane

Summer signings:

Ben Williams, Greg Leigh, Leon Barnett, Neil Danns and Nicky Clark

Summer departures:

Peter Clarke, Chris Hussey, Leon Clarke, Joe Riley and Ryan Lowe.

Fans’ expectations:

Fans expect to better last season’s points tally and to finish in the top half, but consolidating League One status and sorting financial problems is a must.

One to watch:

Danny Mayor: On his day, the tricky winger is up there with the best in League One. Although he lacks consistency, Mayor has the potential to win matches on his own.

Random fact about your club:

In the last 12 months, manager David Flitcroft has had 10 different goalkeepers at his disposal.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Sheffield United, Millwall. Down: Chesterfield, Oldham, Port Vale and Shrewsbury. 

GILLINGHAM

By Luke Cawdell, Medway
Messenger











CLUB MANAGER:

Justin Edinburgh

GROUND:

Priestfield Stadium

Summer signings:

Paul Konchesky, Scott Wagstaff, Billy Knott, Lee Martin and Deji Oshilaja.

Summer departures:

John Egan, Doug Loft, Jermaine McGlashan and Brennan Dickenson.

Fans’ expectations:

Gillingham have been improving year on year over the last few seasons and bettering their ninth place finish in League 1 will be what the fans and management will expect.

One to Watch:

Billy Knott: Joined Gills after two years at Bradford and has been given license to attack this season after being asked to do more defensive duties at his former club.

Random fact about your club:

Steve Bruce was about to start life as an apprentice plumber before the Gills signed him on after a trial.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Sheffield United, MK Dons. Down - Fleetwood, Port Vale, Shrewsbury, Wimbledon.

WALSALL

By Joe Masi, Express & Star












CLUB MANAGER:

Jon Whitney

GROUND:

Banks’s Stadium

Summer signings:

Simeon Jackson, Erhun Oztumer, Florent Cuvelier, George Dobson, Jason McCarthy.

Summer departures:

Tom Bradshaw, Romaine Sawyers, Sam Mantom, Jason Demetriou, Milan Lalkovic

Fans’ expectations:

To lay foundations for another promotion push. A long- term plan to get to the Championship ended last season with Saddlers missing out by a point. With the majority of that squad having moved on, a new project is underway.

One to watch:

Erhun Oztumer: He may only be 5ft 3in but the man nicknamed ‘Turkish Messi’ by Peterborough fans looks destined to shine in the number 10 role. Pre-season suggests he will be central to Walsall’s attacking play.

Random fact about your club:

Walsall’s record fee spent on a player dates way to 1979 when they paid Birmingham £175,000 for all-time top goal scorer Alan Buckley

Predictions:

Up: Millwall, Sheffield United, MK Dons. Down: Port Vale, Oxford, Fleetwood, Oldham.

SOUTHEND UNITED

By Chris Phillips, Southend Echo

CLUB MANAGER:

Phil Brown

GROUND:

Roots Hall

Summer signings:

Simon Cox, Mark Oxley, Jason Demetriou and Jermaine McGlashan.

Summer departures:

Daniel Bentley, Jack Payne and David Worrall

Fans’ expectations:

According to a poll we’ve run in the paper to finish between seventh and 12th.

One to watch:

Ryan Leonard. An energetic midfielder who was missed when injured last season.

Random fact about your club:

Plans for a new ground got Government approval in 2008 but building work has yet to start.

Predictions:

Up: Millwall, Sheff Utd and Charlton. Down: Oldham, Port Vale, Bury and AFC Wimbledon.

SHREWSBURY TOWN

By Tim Nash, Shropshire Star

CLUB MANAGER:

Micky Mellon

GROUND:

Greenhous Meadow

Summer signings:

Louis Dodds, AJ Leitch-Smith, Joe Riley, Jim O’Brien, Adam El- Abd.

Summer departures:

Mark Halstead, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Zak Whitbread, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, James Collins.

Fans’ expectations:

After survival was achieved with one game to spare last season on their return to League One, Town fans are expecting better. A club record 13 home defeats needs to be addressed. Mellon has undertaken another squad revamp and mid-table has to the aim.










One to watch:

Louis Dodds has always impressed against Town for Port Vale and is the sort of established League One performer they need to improve the team.

Random fact about your club:

Last season’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Manchester United was the first time the clubs had ever met competitively.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Bradford and Sheffield United. Down: Fleetwood, Rochdale, Swindon, Wimbledon.

PORT VALE

By Rich Sharpe, Stoke Sentinel












CLUB MANAGER:

Bruno Ribeiro

GROUND:

Vale Park

Summer signings:

Jerome Thomas, Carlos Saleiro, Paulo Tavares, Anthony de Freitas, Kjell Knops.

Summer departures:

Michael O’Connor, Louis Dodds, Carl Dickinson, Richard Duffy, Ajay Leitch-Smith

Fans expectations:

Fans are predicting a roller-coaster ride. No-one really knows what to expect given the raft of foreign imports this summer brought in

to replace last year’s key men. 

One to watch:

Carlos Saleiro is a player the chairman, Norman Smurthwaite, has tipped to bag plenty of goals in League One after signing from Portuguese Second Division outfit Clube Oriental de Lisboa.

Random fact about your club:

Port Vale are of only two league clubs to not be named after a geographic location.  

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Millwall, Peterborough. Down - Oldham,

Wimbledon, Fleetwood, Bury.

FLEETWOOD TOWN

By Dave Seddon, Lancashire Evening Post













CLUB MANAGER:

Watch this space

GROUND

Highbury Stadium

Summer signings:

Michael Duckworth, Chris Neal, Ashley Eastham, Alex Cairns, Cian Bolger

Summer departures:

Chris Maxwell, Tyler Forbes, Shola Ameobi, Stephen Jordan, Antoni Sarcevic

Fans’ expectations:

Fleetwood fans will be looking for an improvement on 19th place, pushing into mid-table, although there has been plenty of upheaval recently.

One to watch:

Devante Cole (son of Andy Cole) will be looking to nail down a regular first-team spot, has to deliver this season.

Random fact about your club:

Centre-half Nathan Pond has been with Fleetwood since 2003 and has won promotion from six different divisions with them.

Predictions:

Up: Sheffield United, Charlton, Scunthorpe. Down: Oldham, Shrewsbury, Port Vale, AFC Wimbledon.

SHEFFIELD UNITED

By James Shield, The Star, Sheffield.













MANAGER:

Chris Wilder

GROUND:

Bramall Lane

Summer signings:

Leon Clarke, John Fleck, Mark Duffy, Chris Hussey, Jack O’Connell.

Summer departures:

Jay McEveley, Dean Hammond, Mark Howard, Conor Sammon, David Edgar.

Fans’ expectations:

Promotion, preferably automatic but via the play-offs at least although United’s record in the end of season knock-outs isn’t good. Wilder’s appointment will guarantee a lot of goodwill though.

One to watch:

Leon Clarke’s arrival brings a different dynamic to a strike force which already included Marc McNulty, Matt Done and Billy Sharp. But John Fleck also looks like being a really smart piece of business.

Random fact about your club:

The Sheffield United Cricket and Football Club was the first English sports club to use ‘United’ in its name after being founded 127 years ago.

Predictions:

Up: Millwall, Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic. Down: Oldham Athletic, Fleetwood Town, Rochdale, Port Vale.

BRISTOL ROVERS

By James McNamara,
Bristol Post





CLUB MANAGER:

Darrell Powell

GROUND:

Memorial Stadium

Summer signings:

Byron Moore, Luke James, Peter Hartley

Summer departures:

Tom Parkes

Fans’ expectations:

After back to back promotions people might have high expectations but they are also realistic – and maybe need a couple of new players to achieve more than mid-table.

One to watch:

Matt Taylor: Fans’ favourite signed a new contract in the summer and has a proven eye for goal, leading the League Two charts last season.

Random fact about your club:

Though officially named the Pirates, people know Bristol Rovers as The Gas because of the smell that used to drift over the stadium from the local gasworks.

Predictions:

Up: Millwall, Charlton, Sheffield United. Down: Fleetwood, Chesterfield, Swindon, Northampton.

PETERBOROUGH UNITED

By Alan Swann, Peterborough Telegraph.

Club Manager:

Grant McCann.

Ground:

ABAX Stadium:

Summer signings:

Rafa Tafazolli, Gwion Edwards, Brad Inman, Paul Taylor.

Summer departures:

Gaby Zakuani, Harry Beautyman.

Fans’ expectations:

They are always high, and usually optimistic. They tend to believe the chairman and manager who will predict promotion.










One to watch:

Marcus Maddison can irritate with some unnecessary theatrics, but he is by far and away the most naturally gifted attacking player in the squad. 11 goals and 13 assists last season, despite Graham Westley’s interference.

Random fact about your club:

Peterborough scored 134 goals in their first season as a Football League club when winning the Fourth Division Championship in 1960-61. It remains a Division Four record.

Predictions:

Up: Charlton, Sheffield United, Scunthorpe. Down: Oldham, Port Vale, Wimbledon, Swindon.

BRADFORD CITY

By Simon Parker/Bradford Telegraph & Argus



CLUB MANAGER:

Stuart McCall

GROUND:

Valley Parade

Summer signings:

Romain Vincelot, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Jordy Hiwula, Nicky Law

Summer departures:

Jamie Proctor, Reece Burke, Josh Cullen, Lee Evans

Fans’ expectations:

It’s going to be a season of rebuilding after the Phil Parkinson era. I think most fans would be happy with a top-ten finish.

One to watch:

James Hanson was brought to Bradford by McCall in 2009 and should benefit from the manager’s return and a more attack-minded approach.

Random fact about your club:

Stuart McCall has played or managed Bradford City in all four divisions and is now in his fourth spell with the club.

Predictions:

Up: Sheffield United, Bolton, Charlton. Down: Oldham,

Wimbledon, Shrewsbury, Fleetwood.