With the promotion of Brighton, Southampton and Peterborough, who were some of the division’s top spenders and the relegation of Preston, Sheffield United and Scunthorpe who all look to be in transition period, League One certainly looks the weakest it has for many a year so it is the perfect opportunity for a perennial challenger to finally make the step up to the Championship.
Huddersfield Town were incredibly unlucky not to achieve automatic promotion last year and only a long unbeaten run by Southampton prevented them before the disappointment of the playoff final defeat. This time round Lee Clarke’s men are rightly favourites as they have all the right attributes to get out of the division however after losing key men in Pilkington, Peltier and Kilbane, it will be interesting to see if they are as consistent this season. I think Preston North End with Phil Brown in charge, who has Premier League experience, have the potential to return to the Championship and I expect them to do the best out of the relegated teams. Their end of season form was much improved despite the inevitable relegation and I believe they have a very capable squad for the division, making them strong contenders.
Charlton are tipped to have a big season but I think they may be a bit overrated with some un-inspiring signings. They will surely be an improved side with all the new arrivals but I am not sure if Chris Powell is the man to take them back to the Championship. However I can see the Addicks challenging for the top six near the end of the season. Havign both Sheffield clubs in the third tier of English football is a rare sight and they will be looking to make the playoffs at least. Wednesday are not going to be the best team to watch under Gary Megson but if the style of football achieves promotion their fans won’t to mind. They should be contenders come the end of the season but need to find a goalscorer first. Over the city at Bramall Lane, Danny Wilson may have faced a lot of stick after taking the job but if he can take them back at the first time of asking the early animosity will be forgotten. They will be looking to use their excellent youth team to help them achieve after getting rid a number of expensive players and a place in the playoffs at the end of the season should be within their grasp.
Fellow relegated side Scunthorpe looked a different outfit under Alan Knill at the end of last season but it wasn’t enough to save them. A summer of departures has followed and a limited budget has meant only a few new signings to replace them. However if they can find a 20 goal a season man and sort their leaky defence, they will have enough quality to challenge for a play-off berth. Brentford look a good shot for playoffs under former Man City striker Uwe Rosler. The signing of League Two top goal scorer Clayton Donaldson is just one of their impressive captures this summer and pre-season results have been encouraging with the Bees looking like a team on the up. MK Dons under Karl Robinson enhanced as the season went on and if they continue this improvement they have the squad to sustain a challenge for the playoffs again despite the loss of key man Peter Leven.
Current League Two Champions, Chesterfield could be this year’s surprise package after playing some fantastic football last year. John Sherdian looks to be a very capable manager and they could well make a challenge for the playoffs although the loss of Craig Davies may affect their charge up the divisions.
Let me know your thoughts on my predictions and what you think of the upcoming League Two season also look out for the teams who will be trying to avoid relegation tomorrow. Follow me on twitter @aidanmccartney for more Football League debate.