League One

League One Preview

Accrington Stanley:

Accrington Stanley will start their third successive season in a row in League One. They have an excellent manager in John Coleman, who does wonders on a small budget. They have lost Callum Johnson who has joined Portsmouth. Jordan Clarke has also left. They have made some signings, with forward Ryan Cassidy joining on loan from Watford. Cameron Burgess has signed on a three-year deal after leaving Scunthorpe. They have brought in midfield options in the form of Newcastle’s Tom Allan and Mo Sangare, who join on loan and Matt Butcher has signed permanently from Bournemouth. They have signed defender Stephen Sama and Uwakwe from Chelsea on loan.

AFC Wimbledon:

This season is an exciting one for Wimbledon as they will move home to Plough Lane, where a new stadium has been built, soon, but until then they will groundshare with QPR until the new stadium is ready. The summer has seen them sign Alex Woodyard from Peterborough. Ollie Palmer signed after rejecting a new contract from Crawley, the forward scored 13 goals in League Two last season. They have also recruited some loanees, with goalkeeper Connal Trueman, midfielder Jaako Oksanen, and forward Ryan Longman having all joined on season long loan deals. Wimbledon should be good enough to avoid relegation this season.

Blackpool

Neil Critchley is the new manager and the summer has seen them bring in a lot of forward-thinking players. They have side forwards Keshi Anderson and Joe Yates on a permanent basis. CJ Hamilton and Oliver Sarkic have also joined with Marvin Ekpiteta signing as well. The midfield has been strengthened with Ethan Robson and Jordan Williams signing for the club. Daniel Kemp joins on loan from West Ham and forward Bez Lubala has signed. Goalkeeper Alex Fojticek has signed, and Demetri Mitchell has joined on a permanent basis. This will be Neil Critchley’s first senior managerial role in football, and he seems to have assembled a decent squad though they could do with some reinforcements defensively.

Bristol Rovers:

Bristol Rovers have been busy in the transfer market. They have signed defender Max Ehme.Zain Westbrooke has signed from Coventry. Defenders Jack Baldwin and David Tutonda have both signed for the club on permanent deals. The forward options have been bolstered with Jonah Ayunga signing, with Brandon Hanlon also signing for the Gas to replace Clarke-Harris who has joined Peterborough. Sam Nicholson and Josh Grant are also permanent recruits. They have seen Clark-Harris leave and Olly Clarke go to Mansfield. If Bristol Rovers can gel the squad together under Ben Garner, then they will be looking to be around the play-offs.

Burton Albion:

Nigel Clough stepped down from the managerial role in May due largely to the financial affects the pandemic has caused football clubs. Jake Buxton is the new manager and will take up his first managerial role. The side are still looking for someone to fill the void up front after Liam Boyce left in January. They have brought in Kane Hemmings and Luke Varney to try and strengthen the forward options. Scott Fraser left in the summer, which means they have lost some creativity as he provided 11 assists. Winger Steven Lawless has come in from Livingston and experienced players have signed in the form of Michael Bostwick and Neal Eardley. Burton Albion will settle for a mid-table position as they could be at risk of a relegation battle.

Charlton Athletic:

Charlton are another team with ownership issues though a solution looks closer to being finalised and that may have an input on their season as it may mean they can add some new players to their squad. They have seen Conor Washington join them. Alex Gilbey has also signed, and they have Dylan Levitt on loan from Manchester United. They do have some good young players in the form of Alfie Doughty, Albie Morgan and George Lapslie. Lee Bowyer is a good manager and Charlton will be towards the top end of the table.

Crewe Alexandra:

Crewe are one of the promoted sides from League Two. They have a settled squad and many players have stayed from the promotion winning team that should give them confidence of having a good season. David Artell has been manager for 3 years now and this will be his first in League One. Crewe have signed Offrande Zanzala and Mickael Mandron. They have signed defenders Donervon Daniels and Omar Beckles, with midfielder Luke Murphy also joining the Railwaymen. Crewe will be confident of being at least a mid-table side in League One.

Doncaster Rovers:

Doncaster will be looking to improve on last season, and they will be looking to see if they can challenge for the play-off places. If Ben Whiteman stays, that will be as important as a new signing as he is important to the Yorkshire side. In the summer, Sadlier left the club. Doncaster have brought in players with Ed Williams and Jason Lokilo signing permanent deals. They have used the loan market with the loan signings of Taylor Richards joining from Brighton, Josef Bursik signing from Stoke and Tyreece John-Jules joining from Arsenal. They have also signed Cameron John from Wolves for an undisclosed fee.

Doncaster Manager Darren Moore

Fleetwood Town:

Fleetwood reached the play-offs last season and with their squad they will be likely to do the same this season. They have signed up Glenn Whelan on a one-year deal and Jordan Rossiter has signed on a permanent basis. They have signed Callum Camps after he left Rochdale. They signed Joel Coleman and Jayson Leutwiler. They signed Sam Stubbs and Mark Duffy with Morgan Boyes joining on loan from Liverpool. They also have goal scorers in Ched Evans and Paddy Madden. Fleetwood will be a good team in League One this season.

Gillingham:

The summer has been busy for Gillingham. They have seen forward Brandon Hanlan and defender Max Ehmer join Bristol Rovers. Mikael Mandron has left to join Crewe. They have brought in several additions with Jordan Graham, who was released by Wolves signing and midfielders Jacob Mellis and Alex McDonald also signing for Gillingham. Arsenal players Zech Medley and Trae Coyle have joined on season long loan deals. Kyle Dempsey, Christian Maghoma, and Robbie McKenzie have signed. Scott Robertson joins on loan from Celtic. Gillingham may be a team that is challenging for a play-off position.

Hull City:

Hull were relegated from the Championship, but they have kept Grant McCann in charge. They have brought in Greg Doherty. Louis Coyle and Richard Smallwood have also joined the Yorkshire side. Josh Emmanuel and Alfie Jones have also been signed on a permanent basis. They also have quality at the club with Tom Eaves and Mallik Wilks and Hull will be a team that will be challenging for promotion.

Ipswich Town:

Ipswich will want to improve from last season when they finished in 11th. They will hope that Freddie Sears features more than he did last season as he was affected by injuries. They have good forward options with Oliver Norwood, Kayden Jackson and Oli Hawkins who joined after leaving Portsmouth. Ipswich have also signed Stephen Ward and David Cornell. Ipswich will be hoping that they finish in the play-offs at least this season.

Oli Hawkins has joined Ipswich Town

Lincoln City:

Michael Appleton has been busy in the summer with numerous signings coming into the club. Callum Morton joins on loan from West Brom after impressing at Northampton last season. Another player joining on loan from West Brom is goalkeeper Alex Palmer. Midfielder Remy Howarth has joined the club on a one-year deal. The midfield are has seen further additions with James Jones, Conor McGrandles and Liam Bridcutt all signing for the club.  Ethan Ross has signed on a one-year deal and Tottenham have loaned Timothy Eyoma to Lincoln with Adam Jackson also joining for an undisclosed fee. Lewis Montsma has signed on a three-year deal. They have also signed Joe Walsh and Theo Archibald. Lincoln will be hoping the new players settle in well and if they do, they will be challenging near the top 6.

Milton Keynes Dons:

MK Dons are managed by the youngest manager in the football league with Russell Martin the man in charge. They will look to improve on their 19th place last season. The summer has seen a few players leave, with Jordan Bowery, Connor McGrandles, Alex Gilbey and Rhys Healey all leaving the club. They have made quite a few signings though with Louis Thompson, Warren O’Hora, Lasse Sorensen and Carlton Morris joining on loan. Defenders Daniel Harvie and Richard Keogh have signed on permanent deals. Scott Fraser has signed, which is a good signing as he had the second most assists in the league last season at Burton Albion. Russell Martin seems like a promising manager, and MK Dons, with the additions they have made will be confident to have a much better season than they did last season.

Northampton Town:

They won the League Two plays-offs in June, after a sensational second leg comeback in the semi-final away at Cheltenham Town. The summer has seen centre-back Charlie Goode leave to join Championship Brentford. Vadaine Oliver left and has joined Gillingham and Morton went back to his parent club and has now joined Lincoln on loan. They have signed Bulger on a permanent deal and Racic who joins on a season long loan deal from Brentford. Joseph Mills has signed after leaving Forest Green and Fraser Horsfall has also signed. Goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell has signed on a season long loan deal. The final third of the pitch has seen additions as well with forwards Ricky Korboa signing a one-year deal, Joe Nuttall on a season long loan deal from Blackpool and Benny Ashley-Seal signing for an undisclosed fee from Wolves. Northampton will settle for staying in the league and anything above that will be bonus.

Peterborough United:

Peterborough have sold Ivan Toney for £10m to Brentford. They will miss last season’s League One top scorer. They have signed Jonson Clarke-Harris from Bristol Rovers and have brough in Ryan Broom from Cheltenham. They have also signed Sammie Szmodics from Bristol City after he spent the second half of last season on loan. Goalkeeper Daniel Gyollai signed on a free transfer. They have signed Ethan Hamilton on a permanent deal and Reece Brown on loan. Peterborough are one of the favourites to go up and will be aiming for automatic promotion.

Jonson Clarke-Harris who is a new signing for Peterborough

Oxford United:

Rob Dickie has left to join QPR and Marcus Browne has returned to his parent club. Marcus McGuane has signed for the club. Matty Taylor has joined on a permanent basis. Joel Cooper has signed from Linfield and Sean Clare has also signed. They signed Asonganyi, Liam Kelly and Derick Osei Yaw. Oxford will want to go one better than the play-off final defeat and Karl Robinson has a squad capable of doing so.

Plymouth Argyle:

Plymouth are another of the newly promoted sides and in Ryan Lowe, they have a good young manager who has won two promotions from League Two in successive seasons, one with Bury and the other with Plymouth. Plymouth will be confident of being mid table at worst, but they could be looking at challenging for the play-off places. They have brought in Ryan Hardie on loan and Frank Nouble on a permanent basis. Pautche Camara has signed for the Devon side and Lewis Macleod has joined after leaving Wigan. Ben Reeves has also signed, and goalkeeper Jack Ruddy has signed on a short-term deal. George Cooper has signed from Peterborough for an undisclosed fee and Kelland Watts has joined on loan from Newcastle. Sarcevic has left, but Plymouth are a strong side with quality players like Danny Mayor and will certainly be a team to watch.

Portsmouth:

Kenny Jackett is under pressure from the fans and will need to get off to a better start this season than he did last season. They lost Christian Burgess who has joined Belgian side Union SG and have seen left-back Brandon Haunstrup go to Kilmarnock. There have been signings in the form of Callum Johnson from Accrington Stanley and Cameron Pring joins on loan from Bristol City.  They will be looking for more additions especially a number 10, and they will be hoping to achieve the elusive promotion.

Rochdale:

Rochdale have lost some key players, in the form of second highest scorer in the club’s history, Ian Henderson. The loss of goals will be hard to replace as Henderson scored 15 in the league last season, which was 38% of Rochdale’s goals in league football last season. They have also lost Callum Camps who made 201 appearances for the club. Brian Barry-Murphy will do well to keep Rochdale in the league. They conceded a lot of goals last season with only three teams conceding more, so defensively they will need to improve. They have made a few signings with Alex Newby joining, Gavin Bazunu and Yeboah Amankwah joining from Manchester City on a season long loan deal. Rochdale have been affected financially by the pandemic, but they do need to strengthen otherwise this season will be tough one.

Shrewsbury:

The summer for Shrewsbury has seen Josh Laurent and Omar Beckles both leave the club. They will need to score more goals than last season as they only scored 31 with Bolton the only team to score fewer. Rekiel Pyke and Josh Daniels have joined on permanent deals and Scott High has joined on a season long loan deal from Huddersfield Town. Defender Marlon Fossey has joined on a season long loan deal from Fulham and Matija Sarkic has joined on loan from Wolves. Shrewsbury could do with a few more forward additions.

Sunderland:

Sunderland will want to improve after they finished last season in 8th place. They have brought in Kosovan centre back Arbenit Xhemaji. Jack Diamond has returned after a loan spell at Harrogate last year and he will be a good addition for the squad. Bailey Wright has signed on a permanent deal after a loan spell last season. They have signed Aiden O’Brien and Danny Graham. They signed goalkeeper Remi Matthews and defender Morgan Feeney. Sunderland will be a side that will be challenging for the top two in the league.

Swindon Town:

Swindon have seen Keshi Anderson, Eoin Doyle and Jerry Yates no longer at the club. They have signed Brett Pitman after he was released by Portsmouth, and Jack Payne also signs. Diallang Jaiysemi has signed on a three-year deal. Matt Smith has signed on loan from Arsenal. Jonny Smith has signed on loan from Bristol City and Scott Twine has signed on loan from Newport. They have strengthened the goalkeeping department with Matej Kovar signing on loan from Manchester United and Joe Fryer signing on a short-term deal. Akin Odimayo has signed on a one-year deal. Richie Wellens is another good manager, who will be confident of Swindon finishing in the top half of the table.

Wigan Athletic:

For Wigan, their season will be defined with what happens off the pitch, if they are taken over soon, they may be able to get a squad together, if not they will be looking at another relegation. It is a sad situation for a team that effectively finished mid table in the Championship until a 12-point deduction, because of administration saw them relegated to League One. They have seen their squad decimated and at cut price. They have seen Jamal Lowe, Antonee Robinson, Chey Dunkley, Kieffer Moore, Joe Williams, David Marshall, Nathan Byrne and Josh Windass all leave the club. Paul Cook resigned and his assistant Leam Richardson was in caretaker charge. John Sheridan has been appointed the new manager. They have signed Viv Solomon-Otabor and Dan Gardner, but without a takeover any other arrivals might prove challenging. The season is largely dependent on when and if a takeover takes place.

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