That’s according to Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley who speaking ahead of the season opener on August 7 believes the size of some of the clubs in the third tier will make promotion difficult for the likes of themselves and Sheffield Wednesday.
The Owls were relegated from the Championship for the first time in nine seasons and face a difficult rebuilding job amid a huge squad turnover.
Cowley, who interviewed for the Wednesday job in 2019, said a promotion push will be difficult for any side.
“I do think it’s going to be a really competitive league,” he said.
“There’s a number of clubs with new owners, there’s some big clubs who’ve been relegated and lived off Championship money.
“There are players who’ve been on Championship money with Championship competence and experience coming down to League One.
“There’s players in our league who we would have liked to have signed who will be on double our top earner.
“That’s where it is at the minute - and we do have a really competitive budget.
“So we’re anticipating a really tough league.
“It looks like it’s going to be the toughest League One in many years.”
Portsmouth have stagnated a touch in the third tier and are themselves in the midst of a transitional period having released 19 players.
But like some of the other ‘bigger clubs’ in the division, such as Ipswich, Sunderland and Charlton Athletic, they will be under pressure to achieve an imminent return to the Championship.
Cowley added: “I was looking back and trying to think when League One has been this competitive in the past 12 years or so.
“There was Wigan and Blackburn (in 2018), but there was then a significant drop to Shrewsbury in third and the rest.
“So we’re under no illusions how tough this is going to be.
“But the best things in life are never easy are they? Otherwise they wouldn’t be the best things.
“We know how big the challenge is in front of us and we’re looking forward to it.”