And the division’s big boys have wasted no time in bolstering their squads with some eye-catching signings ahead of deadline day on 31 August.
Sheffield Wednesday are one of the favourites for promotion under Darren Moore and filled a problem position on Wednesday when they sealed their fourth signing of the summer.
The Owls begin the 2021/22 season on August 1 with a curtain-raising Carabao Cup clash at home to Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield on August 1.
The club have made it clear they want to bounce back to the Championship at the first attempt, but with six other former Premier League clubs hoping to be in the hunt – as well as other strong teams at this level – it will be far from easy, especially given the squad strength of some of their rivals.
Here are five eye-catching deals among League One clubs who could challenge Sheffield Wednesday for promotion next season.
Charlie Wyke – Sunderland to Wigan Athletic
The Black Cats’ promotion chances were dealt a hammer blow earlier this summer when last season’s 26-goal striker turned down a new deal to join Wigan, who have clearly put their financial troubles behind them.
Only Peterborough United’s goal machine Jonson Clarke-Harris, who netted 31 times, scored more at this level in the last campaign.
Look out for the Latics, who are 4-1 to go up with the bookies.
Joe Pigott – AFC Wimbledon to Ipswich
The 27-year-old, who turned down a new deal with the Dons, has been a regular scorer in League One for a team that has regularly struggled at the wrong end of the table.
He bagged an impressive 22 goals last season, despite Wimbledon narrowly avoiding relegation.
This year, along with a host of impressive new Tractor Boys signings – including Matt Penney – Pigott could set the division alight.
Ipswich are joint-second favourites to go up.
Craig MacGillivray – Portsmouth to Charlton Athletic
The 28-year-old was believed to be heading to the Championship after leaving Fratton Park, having kept 17 clean sheets in 52 appearances last season and earned a place in the Scotland squad during a hugely successful three-year spell with the south coast club.
This deal represents some impressive business by the Addicks, then, who face Sheffield Wednesday on the first day of the season. They are now managed by former Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins, who has also added striker Jayden Stockley to his squad in this window.
Charlton are 4-1 for promotion.
Alex Pritchard – Huddersfield to Sunderland
The attacking midfielder cost the Terriers a whopping £8 million when he signed from Spurs in 2016 and has made nearly 50 Premier League appearances.
Still only 28 – and a veteran of more than 100 games in the Championship – Pritchard should add creativity and quality to Sunderland’s attack and help fill the void left by Wyke.
Sunderland are favourites for promotion with odds of 2-1.
Max Watters – Cardiff City to MK Dons
The 22-year-old striker cost the Bluebirds £1 million when he joined from League 2 side Crawley Town in January after scoring 16 goals in 19 games.
He managed just three appearances in the Championship, however, which was perhaps a bridge too far for now. But, with a point to prove, a season-long loan in League 1 could be the perfect middle ground.
MK Dons are 6-1 for promotion.