Skybet League 1 Preview 2016/17

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Last season we witnessed another highly entertaining and for the most part high quality League One season. Relegated Wigan made a triumphant return to The Championship by winning the league despite a slow start. They were joined by Burton who gained promotion to the second tier for the first time. An amazing run after christmas from Barnsley saw them not just squeeze into the playoffs but win the final at Wembley.

At the other end Crewe went down which was unsurprising to most. They were joined by Colchester. The horrible story that is Blackpool continued as the side, who a few short years ago were in the Premiership, now face a battle in League 2 and perhaps most shocking, Doncaster also went down.

So what can we expect this season? I for one expect a tight, hard thought season full of quality, passion, some controversy, defensive howlers and the occasional referree error.

We welcome back Charlton and MK Dons who were relegated last season from The Championship. Bolton also joined them after a terrible season on and off the field. Replacing the relegated sides are League 2 champions Northampton, who won the league in style including playing a fixture while a fire broke out behind the ground. For the first time we also welcome AFC Wimbledon who won the playoff final. Not without their own drama, their playoff semi was all but concluded when the lights went out. Finally everyone (bar Swindon fans) welcomes Oxford and Bristol Rovers who both secured promotion on the final day. I am sure though if you asked the Robins fans from SN1 they are actually delighted to have two derbies this season and not every away game is up north.

My final expectation is some quality from the stands. Who is going to stand up, be counted and rival the soundtrack to my summer – the infamous “Will Grigg’s on Fire chant”???
With the help of fans of every club there is a small preview to the season ahead. Following that, as seems popular across social media these days, my prediction if the final table come May.

Please get involved in the discussion.

AFC Wimbledon

Manager: Neal Ardley

Ground: Kingsmeadow

Last Season: Promotion from League 2 via the playoffs

My thoughts: I love a football fairy tale but fear it could be a long, hard season for the newbies.

Fan Ray Armfield (@KentWomble)

Biggest signing: Might be the one yet to happen – we still need another striker to replace Adebayo Akinfenwa. I’m most pleased with the arrival of Chris Whelpdale – he’s always played well against us.
Biggest loss: We’ve (so far) managed to hang on to our star striker Lyle Taylor, with talk of an improved and extended contract.

The biggest loss – in every sense of the word – has been the departure of Akinfenwa, but no man is bigger than a club and I wish him well at Wycombe.
Best player: Lyle Taylor is our ‘best’ player.
Youth product to watch out for: Plenty of good home grown youngsters coming through. Ten are in or around the first team squad now. I have high hopes for goalscoring midfielder Alfie Egan.
Expectations for the season: I’d hope to stay up – under no illusions we are stepping up into a tough division.
Your prediction for the season: Sheffield United, Charlton, Millwall and Gillingham should be challenging at the top.
Oldham, Port Vale and Fleetwood may struggle.

Big loss – Akinfenwa left at the end of the season (taken from sporta.com)

Bolton Wanderers

Manager: Phil Parkinson

Ground: Macron Stadium

Last Season: Relegated from The Championship.

My thoughts: This one is difficult. They will do really well or really badly – no middle ground.

Fan Neil Fletcher (@neilfletcher72)

Biggest signing: So far Jamie Proctor.

Main Loss: Rob Holding, especially as David Wheater is back on trial.

Youth player to watch out for: Alex Samizadeh

Expectation for the season: A lot more positive but we are of the view it can’t get any worse and at least we still have a club to support.

Prediction for the season:

Promotion Sheff Utd Charlton and maybe Coventry
Relegation Oldham Oxford and Scunthorpe

New man in charge – Parkinson has taken over (taken from Dailymail.co.uk)

Bradford City

Manager: Stuart McCall

Ground: Valley Parade

Last Season: Lost play off semi final

My thoughts: Rate Bradford but the loss of Parkinson could hinder them.

Fan: Ed Goodall (@LondonBCAFC)
Biggest Signing: Our dealings so far have been solid, if not unspectacular. The quick striker to partner Hanson continues to elude us; it’s the deal fans are anticipating. But thus far, given the hole in the centre of defence, Nat Knight-Percival could prove vital if he can replicate the form which earned him the nickname ‘Rolls Royce’ at Shrewsbury.

Main Loss: Not strictly a player ‘sold’, but Reece Burke returning to West Ham after his season-long loan is a massive blow. Elegant, left footed and strong in the air; a perfect foil to our centre back stalwart McArdle. Losing the flourishing partnership in central midfield of Evans and Cullen is equally sore; neither have been replaced.

Best Player: Unlike many league one sides, we have never been carried by individuals; Parkinson’s emphasis on teamwork underpinned this. However, for me, it has to be McArdle. Although not the most elegant, he has been a constant presence since the 2013/14 League Cup run. However; terms of pedigree, few trump Paul Anderson, who missed almost all of last season with a broken league. He has the quality to trouble every league one defence.

Youth Player: Certainly Reece Webb-Foster. Prolific poacher in our youth sides who bagged his first senior-level hattrick on loan at our little brother Bradford Park Avenue in the Conference North. Arsenal and Man United have kept tabs on him for a while.

Expectations: Despite being tipped to fly high by the bookies, and being readily in the mix of promotion hopefuls to rival fans, I think most supporters see this season as transitional. We have lost Parkinson, legendary manager of half a decade, plus our local owners who lived and breathed Bradford. Many fans are bitter towards Parkinson for
leaving amidst pre-season preparation. He didn’t fully tackle contract issues or transfer targets, due to being coveted by Bolton. He even took his entire backroom staff, totalling 7. McCall is in, as are our new German overlords. I would take anything around mid-table.

Prediction for the season:

Promotion: Bolton, Charlton, Sheffield Utd

Relegation: Fleetwood, Wimbledon, Bristol Rovers, Port Vale.

He is back – McCall returns (taken from Talksport.com)

 

Bristol Rovers

Manager: Darrell Clarke

Ground: Memorial Stadium

Last Season: Promotion from League 2

My thoughts: I feel they will hold there own without being spectacular. Strong mid table side.

Fan Ashley Kendal (@Ashleyk365)

Biggest Signing: Hartley

Main loss (player sold): None

Best Player: Tom Lockyer

Youth star to watch out for: Lucas

Expectations for the season: Midtable

Tip for promotion and relegation: Promotion – Coventry, relegation – Swindon.

(taken from Wikipedia)

Bury

Manager: David Flitcroft

Ground: Gigg Lane

Last Season: 16th League One

My thoughts: Start of preseason I felt they were dark horses for playoffs but now feel they may be looking down more than up.

Fan: Nick Holt of fanzine mannyroadend.co.uk

Biggest signing  so far is probably Neil Danns who has the potential to tear up this league, but in recent years we’ve thought the same about Tom Soares and David Healy and been largely disappointed.

Main loss is Peter Clarke player of the season in 2015/16 (signed for Oldham last week),. One can only hope that a suitable replacement is yet to be announced.

Best player is between Leon Clarke (since left for Sheffield United) and Danny Mayor, but I’d go with Clarke for his experience and goals.

Youth player – there are a few coming through at the moment, none are particularly outstanding as far as I have seen. I’ll say Scott Burgess as his is the only name I can remember.

Expectations for me are mid-table with some of the signings made this far.

Tips
Promoton- Charlton, Millwall, Bradford
Relegaton- Bolton, Scunthorpe,Shrewsbury, Wimbledon

With Clarke gone how important is Mayer? (taken from football365.com)

Charlton Athletic

Manager: Russell Slade

Ground: The Valley

Last Season: Relegated from The Championship.

My thoughts: Should challenge given the business they have be doing.

Fan: Tom Wayment @tomwayment90

Biggest Signing: Nicky Ajose (so far).

Main loss (player sold): Johann berg Gudmunsson.

Best Player: Andrew Crofts

Youth star to watch out for: Enzri Consa/Ollie Muldoon

Expectations for the season: Playoffs

Tip for promotion and relegation: Bolton, Sheffield United and Charlton for promotion. Swindon, Wimbledon, Fleetwood and Bristol Rovers to go down.

New signing – Ajose ready to tear up the league after banging in over 20 for Swindon last season. Signed for 800k (taken from cafc.co.uk).

Chesterfield

Manager: Danny Wilson

Ground: Proact Stadium.

Last Season:18th League One.

My thoughts: Feel they are capable of improving on last years 18th.

Fan Danny Hooper (@hoops_danny)

Biggest Signing: Without a doubt, there is only one player that can be considered for the biggest signing for Chesterfield football club. The signing of Ched Evans during the course of his retrial will go down as one of the most controversial signings in recent history. Whatever moral standpoint you take on the signing, there is no doubting his ability on the football field. A strong, powerful striker; if back to his best could score 20 goals this season. A huge gamble by the club, high risk but a potentially high reward.

Main loss (player sold):

On the 12th of May it was announced that the contract of long serving full back, Drew Talbot, was not to be renewed. The now 30 year old, former winger had been with the club since the days of the famous Recreation ground – one of only two players from last season’s campaign remaining from the Saltergate days. His overwhelming desire and love for the club that was shown in his last ditch, passionate play was truly inspiring for young spectators at the PROACT. A real fans favourite who will be missed dearly on and off the pitch.

Best Player:

After a dismal campaign last time out, it can be hard for a player to stand out above the rest and a decision on the matter of a ‘best player’ can often be put down to a personal opinion. For me, the most important player this season is likely to be Gboly Ariyibi. After a slight problem with inconsistency last season, his pre season has provided some real signs of excitement. A tricky winger filled with flair and an eye for goal – his ability to beat a man and provide service towards the potentially lethal Ched Evans could be a threat to look out for in this league

Youth star to watch out for

20 year old Rai Simons currently hold 8 senior caps for the Bermuda National team, scoring 4 goals in the process. Last time out, chances were fairly hard to come by after changes in the managerial staff during the season made it difficult for the youngster to break into the first team. However, while his chances were scarce, his goals were not. The powerful, 6 foot striker grabbed 5 goals in only 4 starts for the club – a ratio impressive by anyone’s standards. With more chances sure to come the Bermudian’s way, the 2016/2017 season could be a breakthrough season for the talented young man.

Expectations for the season

The upcoming Sky Bet League One campaign is an unpredictable one. It is often too easy to simply say, after a promising pre season, that the club is destined for promotion. Chesterfield’s current squad is looking strong. There are players within the team that have potential to fire the club towards the play offs. However, the current ownership of Dave Allen has caused some distress since his arrival in 2009, especially in his roles in dealing with departures in recent years. I hold out hope that the right efforts will be made to keep hold of key players and with that, I have no reason to believe why a top 6 finish is not out of reach.

Tip for promotion and relegation

The Sky Bet League One has always had a wide mixture of teams involved. Some teams carry with them a wealth of experience from higher leagues and 20’000 spectators each home game, while others barely scrape 5’000 fans. But the success of clubs such as Bournemouth have shown that the history and past successes count for very little in terms of success. What matters, especially in the third tier of English football, is the strength of the current squad and the ability to consistently perform well over the course of 90 minutes. Here are my picks for Promotion:

Charlton: The strike force of Lee Novak and Nicky Ajose is one that could cause serious damage to opponents in this league. Under the leadership of Russell Slade, I believe this teams will go far this season and are destined for a quick return to the Championship. Bradford: The departure of long serving manager Phil Parkinson is undoubtedly a loss for the club, however there is no doubting the ability of the current squad. For me, assuming Stuart McCall is able to get the best from this squad, the club could be on their way to success.

MK Dons: Carrying the unwanted burden of being “veterans” of league one, MK Dons carry a vast amount of experience in winning football matches in league one.

Here are my picks for relegation: Wimbledon : After a fantastic season in league 2 last season, I believe that sadly the jump between league 2 and 1 will be too much for the Dons. Oldham Athletic: Oldham have done some good business this transfer window. However, I believe their lack of prowess up front may result in them falling slightly short this year. Shrewsbury: Shrewsbury were lucky to avoid relegation last year. I believe they may not be so lucky this year. Bristol Rovers: Bristol have done well in holding on to top scorer Matty Taylor, however I believe the step up may be too much for the team.

End of an era – Talbot has left (taken from bbc.co.uk)

Coventry City

Manager: Tony Mowbray

Ground: Ricoh Arena

Last Season: 8th League One

My thoughts: Still without doubt a major player in this division. Should be looking towards the playoffs.

Fan: Chris Woolley

Biggest Signing: Marvin Sordell, so far we have only signed 2.

Main loss (player sold): Reda Johnson/John Fleck.

Best Player: Jodi Jones.

Youth star to watch out for: Cian Harries.

Expectations for the season: Got to be playoffs.

Tip for promotion and relegation: Promotion – Sheffield United. Relegation – Oldham.

Back on trial – Reda Johnson training with Cov.(taken from SkySports.com)

Fleetwood Town

Manager: Uwe Rosler

Ground: Highbury Stadium.

Last Season: 19th League One

My thoughts: Potentially will struggle and is a candidate for relegation.

Fan Luke Thomas (@_lukejsthomas_)

Biggest Signing: Has to be Chris Neal in goal. Not really signed many experienced players.

Main loss (player sold): Chris Maxwell is the biggest loss. Solid in goal and a great penalty saver.

Best Player: Bobby Grant

Youth star to watch out for: Ashley Hunter by a mile.

Expectations for the season: Mid table/lower half season. Squad not as strong as it could be.

Tip for promotion and relegation: Sheffield United and Carlton look strong. MK Dons for the playoffs. Shrewsbury, Oldham, Bury and Northampton to go down

(taken from Wikipedia)

Gillingham

Manager: Justin Edinburgh

Ground: Priestfield Stadium

Last Season: 9th League One

My thoughts: Decent campaign last time out. If they can keep Dack and add a touch mote quality througout the squad they should challenge for the playoffs again.

Fan Craig Adams (@1982criagadams)

Best signing: Scott wagstaff, I think he could have easily got a club at the lower end of the championship, he knows how to win promotion out of the league having done it 2 times with Charlton and Bristol City.

Main loss: At time of writing our main loss is John Egan (cb) who’s moved up to the championship with Brentford. He has been a fantastic player for us in the 2 yrs he has been at gills, but our biggest loss will be Bradley Dack (if he goes). I expect him to be sold before the season starts with the signings of Knott and Wagstaff.

Youth player to watch for. Elliott List , had a few cameos towards the end of last season, has blistering pace and will scare a few defenders.

Expectations for season. After a semi successful season last season I am hopefull we can last the pace this season  and make another serious challenge for the play offs but actually make them this time.

Tip for promotion

Millwall champions

MK Dons runner up
Play offs Bradford, Gillingham (p), Sheffield utd, Charlton
Tip for relegation

Oldham, Fleetwood, Afc wimbledon, Shrewsbury

(taken from Wikipedia)

MK Dons

Manager: Karl Robinson

Ground: Stadium MK

Last Season: Relegated from The Championship

My thoughts: I think they should be competitive. They still have a strong squad. I dont think they will have things all their own way though so playoffs at best.

Fan Alex Hendy

Biggest signing: Very much believe our best signing is still to come

We have made some very good base signings and have started to build a solid mix of youngsters with a lot of promise coming through and players signed who finished at the top end of the league last season.

I feel we are still missing a few players, mainly an output for goals lacking big time up front. Maynard will prove to be a key signing but can’t see him scoring 20+ therefore the biggest signings arguably will be coming through the loan system.

Main loss (player sold): At this stage it’s really hard to say who is our main loss, it was obvious after the disappointment of last season that something had to change and therefore people have to leave.

The players that left on the whole were back up players and therefore although there are a few I’d like to have seen stay on I can see why the left.

Maynard would have been the main loss but he has now been signed up again, although other fans may disagree I’d say Alex Revell will be our main loss. He was the other striker as such the one who takes the pressure off, can hold up the ball but also score. He’s done well in preseason at Northampton and I have no doubt he’ll do well with them and I’d put money on him scoring against us in front of the sky cameras at sixfields.

Best player: Tough one again as such large turn around there are a core group who will always make the team dean Lewington, David Martin etc.

Some may suggest that Maynard is too good for league one and therefore could be seen as the best player in the squad at the moment, personally I think Baldock (George) has been superb at rb since returning from Oxford and will hopefully continue to be a strong presence in defence and down the wing with a decent burst of speed, big season ahead for him.

Youth player to watch out for? There are a lot of good youth players coming of age at the moment and hopefully 3-4+ can be embedded into the squad this season some are closer to that then others, a few have had loans in this country and Iceland. Notable mentions Conor Furlong and Charlie Burns who will be 2nd choice keeper but still looks a bit nervous between the sticks still needs time.

The one to look out for would be Orran Jackson a very capable footballer who hasn’t looked out of place so far albeit against weaker opposition, he is still a but sleight but seems to have the awareness and strength to make a very good defender and the manager rates him with the potential to be better than Dele Alli, perhaps he isn’t ready yet and could benefit from a loan period at a lower level.

Your expectations for season: With a distinct lack of recruitment at the moment following a torrid season last time round it seems everything is a bit doom and goo around MK1 at the minute. So taken this in to account with my expectations I’ll say top 10 as it stands although if we can sign the desired cb, two wingers and a decent goal scorer we will finish in the playoffs, without sounding cocky as we know how hard this league is, amongst other fans I would agree that the Dons should be pushing the top end of league 1 and that playoffs would be the acceptable finishing point.

However the expectations based on recruitment and the squad at this point I can see us falling short of that mark.

Your tip for promotion + relegation: Taking into account I’d like the Dons to get promoted obviously and my belief that we will finish in the playoffs I’ll leave the Dons out of this section (we don’t have the right track record in the playoffs).

It’s going to be a really hard season to predict and no doubt there will be some surprises and teams punching above their weight, I’m finding it hard to pick three teams but here goes 1.Charlton 2. Bolton playoff winner Millwall/Bradford.

Arguably MK’s best player – George Baldock (taken from bbc.co.uk)

Millwall

Manager: Neil Harris

Ground: The Den

Last Season: Losing playoff finalists

My thoughts: I fancy Millwall to win the league. I think they have a very good squad with some outstanding players and play some good football.

Fan Mark Litchfield (@iamthelitch) of Shoot magazine, NewsatDen and Lionsliveradio.

Biggest signing: Our three summer signings have not made the division sit up and take notice as such, but they will all add depth and quality to the squad. Wingers Gregg Wylde and David Worrall, who arrived from Plymouth Argyle and Southend United respectively, will fight with Shane Ferguson for starting berths in our preferred 4-4-2 formation, whilst central defender Shaun Hutchinson – a signing from Fulham – should slot in alongside Byron Webster, following Mark Beevers’ departure to Bolton Wanderers.

Biggest loss: At the time of writing, our only major loss has been Mark Beevers. The defender played 150 games for Millwall over three and a half years, but always made it known that he wanted to move back up north and closer to home. Despite that, bar a couple of brain farts, his performances oozed class and quality – the signing of Hutchinson will hopefully see the effect of his departure softened, but he will still be missed.

Best player: Without doubt, the most consistent over the course of last season was goalkeeper Jordan Archer. It remains to be seen whether he suffers from second season syndrome, but if he carries on his form, then he will rightly be regarded as the best stopper outside the top flight. In addition to that, Lions fans will be looking for big seasons from youngsters Mahlon Romeo and Ben Thompson, as well as hotshot Lee Gregory.

Youth player to watch out for: As eluded to above, Ben Thompson. ‘Thommo’ exploded on to the scene in the second half of the season last year and really made the central midfield position his own. Having been given the number 8 shirt by Neil Harris for 2016-17, it seems that we’ll be seeing a lot more of him. A tough-tackling terrier, Thompson is the type to take a game by the scruff of the neck.

Expectations: Expectations among Lions fans will be to go one better than last season’s play-off final defeat and win promotion back to the Championship. I believe we are more than capable of doing so, but the first couple of months of the campaign will need to be approached with caution, as our young squad attempts to find its feet again and settle in for the long haul. We should be looking at a top 8 finish as the absolute bare minimum, if you ask me – if we perform to our full potential, the play-offs – at the least – are a near certainty.

Tips: I would’ve said Oxford United to be the dark horses, but now they have lost Kemar Roofe to Leeds United, it remains to be seen whether they can replace his goals and creativity. It’s too early to say at the moment, really. Oldham Athletic looked doomed to struggle, but they now have a manager and are bringing players in. All I know is that it’ll be another season of twists and turns!

Best Keeper in the league? Jordan Archer definitely was last year. (taken from Millwallfc.co.uk)

Northampton Town

Manager: Rob Page

Ground: Sixfields Stadium

Last Season: Champions of League Two.

My thoughts: Similar to Bristol Rovers they should hold their own and be a strong mid-table side.

Fan Liam Barry Harris Shaw

Biggest signing: Gabriel Zakuani

Main loss: straight away is Ricky Holmes

Best player: Adam smith

Youth player to watch for: Has to be Shaun McWilliams

Expectations: Around 16th with Millwall winning the league Charlton and Sheffield to go up.

Star man – Adam Smith (taken from ntfc.co.uk)

Oldham

Manager: Steve Robinson

Ground: Boundary Park

Last Season: 17th League One

My thoughts: You can’t help but fear for them. Are making strides in the right direction but could be a difficult campaign.

Fan: Scott McGiffen

Biggest signing: So far Ryan Flynn, out of contract from Sheffield United (we don’t tend to buy players).

Main loss (player sold): Mike Jones – out of contract. Hasn’t renewed solid center mid. Main loss for cash Joel Coleman good young goalkeeper sold to Huddersfield for £100,000.

Best player: We only have 5 players left from the previous season so I will say Carl Winchester as I don’t no too much yet about the rest.

Youth player to watch out for? George Edmunson a big center back could be a belter imo.

Your expectations for season?

Mid table, realistically 16th.

Your tip for promotion + relegation: I think Charlton, Bolton and Millwall can all go up if they play well. Port Vale, Chesterfield, Fleetwood and Oxford to go down at a guess.

Big pressure – New signing Ryan Flynn (taken from thestar.co.uk)

Oxford United

Manager: Michael Appleton

Ground: Kassam Stadium

Last Season: Promoted from League 2

My thoughts: I think they will finish highest of all the promoted sides. Losing Roofe is massive but some of the recruitment is very good.

Fan Matt Hutton (@huttonmatt)

Biggest signing – Kane Hemmings arrives with the biggest expectancy as our main striker and after costing a quarter of a million pounds. Superb scoring record in Scotland, hopefully he produces it here too. Curtis Nelson will also be a huge bonus after joining from Plymouth. 

Main Loss – Kemar Roofe. A one off, and the best player to grace our pitch for many a year. Believed to have cost £100k, a £3m bid from Leeds was too good to turn down. 26 goals and 11 assists will be a huge task to replace. He was a joy to watch.

Best Player – 2 stand out, John Lundstram is a CM with an incredible passing range. Big pitches and open games are ideal for his passing showcase, strong in the tackle and reading of the game is top drawer. There’s also Chris Maguire – the one every one of our fans wanted back. Oozes class and really should be at a higher level. Great footwork and so calm on the ball, influential in our promotion running. Will relish playing the ‘no 10’ role if given the chance. 

Youth Player – Jonny Giles. Signed from a university team just over a year ago and has come through the development squad. A tricky left winger with pace to burn. We also have Tyler Roberts, he’s not our youth player but has signed a 6 month loan deal from WBA and at 17 years old comes with a huge reputation.

Expectations – A midtable obscurity finish would suit the majority of us, steady progression under our new regime and with the signings we’ve made I’ll settle for a 10-16th place finish, expecting to be around 14th come May.

Promotion – as the squads are now I’d hedge my bets on Charlton, MK Dons and Sheffield United. Charlton have made some good acquisitions in the summer, MK still have a very similar squad to the last time they were promoted and Sheffield United have been the underachievers for years but look to have a very strong squad this time around. 

Relegation – Fleetwood, Bury, Oldham and AFC Wimbledon. Fleetwood flirt with it every year, Bury have lost their 2 forwards and don’t look to have replaced them, Oldham look a club in turmoil and so many signings may just gel too late. AFC Dons relied on Lyle Taylor’s goals last season, it may not be enough this year, especially if their star man leaves.

Kemar Roofe will be a huge loss (taken from efl.com)

Peterborough United

Manager: Grant McCann

Ground: ABAX stadium

Last Season: 13th League One

My thoughts: Posh are my dark horses. I have a positive vibe about them this season. An ambitious, positive Chairman and a manager with a clear vision for his clubs identity.

Fan Conor King (@clarkbatfan)

Biggest Signing: Ryan Tafazolli

Main loss: None really, all that have gone needed to go!

Best player: Chris Forrester

Youth player to watch out for: Leonardo Da Silva Lopes – the kid is seriously good

Expectations: promotion. McCann’s first job but quite simply that is what we as a club expect. no less!

Tip for promotion: Posh, Bolton, Walsall

relegation: Oldham, Vale, Northampton, Fleetwood

One for the future – Da Silva Lopes (taken from theposh.com)

Port Vale

Manager: Bruno Ribiero

Ground: Vale Park

Last Season: 12th League One

My thoughts: It is hard to say. Will either surprise everyone or fail badly.

Fan: Rob Fielding of onevalefan.co.uk (@onevalefan)

Biggest signing

In terms of reputation then it’s Portuguese playmaker Paulo Tavares but I wonder whether striker Anton Forrester will turn out to be a gem of a signing.

Main loss (player sold)

A lot have gone but arguably left-back and club captain Carl Dickinson could prove to be the biggest loss.


Best player

With so many ins and outs that’s difficult to say, but midfielder Anthony Grant was a runaway winner of the player of the year award last season and is a huge influence, especially with an influx of players unused to the English game.


Youth player to watch out for?

Striker Dan Turner made his first-team debut last season while defender Nathan Smith will be pushing for a first-team place after a hugely impressive loan spell with Torquay last season.


Your expectations for season? 

Very much a flip of a coin. If everything goes to plan and continental signings adapt quickly we could be a real surprise package for promotion. On the other hand, if it all goes wrong we could be looking at relegation. One things for sure – next season is going to be eventful for the club.


Your tip for promotion + relegation.

I think Charlton are looking very strong, especially upfront. I never like to do down another club but I think Oldham must be one of the favourites to go down this season.

Will Anthony Grant be the star man again? (taken from portvale.co.uk)

Rochdale

Manager: Keith Hill

Ground: Spotland Stadium

Last Season: 10th League One

My thoughts: I can see them having a less spectacular season, possibly being in a relegation dog fight.

Fan Dean Smith (@Deanothedalefan)

Biggest signing
Our transfer activity this summer has been a little underwhelming but making Niall Canavan a permanent signing is a good bit of business. He was on loan with us at the back end of last season and was very solid. A proper no nonsense centre-back and if we’d had him for the whole season we could’ve really been knocking on the door of the play-offs.

Main loss (player sold)
We’ve lost a lot of players this summer but the only one that I’m particularly disappointed about is Ashley Eastham. He was playing alongside Canavan in the final few months of last season and they seemed to be developing a real understanding together. It’s a shame to see him go but Fleetwood came calling with quite a decent wage on offer by all accounts and money talks.

Best player
We have a few stand-out players but for me the most important is Jamie Allen. He sits slightly deeper than the other two central midfielders and on a good day he can really dictate the play from that position. His passing is among the best I’ve seen at Dale and it says enough that he was appointed club captain at the start of last season despite only being 20 years old at the time.

Youth player to watch out for?
James Hooper played a couple of games in the middle of last season and looked like a very decent prospect to me. Unfortunately for him, the centre of midfield is our strongest area with Allen, Matt Lund, Callum Camps and Andy Cannon ahead of him in the pecking order. I’m sure he’ll be given a chance where possible this season and hopefully he’ll impress again.

Your expectations for season?
A slight backwards step I think. Our squad is largely the same as it was last year but there seems to be a lack of ambition really with the uninspiring signings. It’ll be a strong division again this year and with our minimal budget, anything upwards of the relegation zone has to be considered something of a success, but I don’t envisage another top half finish this season unfortunately.

Your tip for promotion + relegation.
Promotion: Millwall. They looked good against us last season and having had a year to get used to the division, I think they’ll now use the quality they have in their squad to get out of it. I’m not convinced by Sheff Utd, they’ve made some good signings but they always seem to underperform in key matches.
Relegation: Port Vale. I have no idea how good this plethora of foreign signings are, but I can see it all ending in tears to be honest.

Proving age is just a number, Rochdale’s Jamie Allen (taken from manchestereveningnews.co.uk)

Scunthorpe

Manager: Graham Alexander

Ground: Glanford Park

Last Season: 7th League One

My thoughts: Possibly less of a playoff contender this year without dropping tight down the bottom. Easilly mid-table.

Fan: Jack Filmer

Biggest signing: Duane Holmes

Main loss: Andrew Boyce

Best player: Paddy Madden

Youth player to watch for: Hakeeb Adelakun 

Season expectations: Top 8 Finish/Challenge for Playoffs

Season Predictions: Promoted – Millwall

Relegated – Bury

Proven at this level – Paddy Madden (taken from Skysports.com)

Sheffield United

Manager: Chris Wilder

Ground: Bramall Lane

Last Season: 11th League One

My thoughts: Surely this year? I dont think they are a definite for promotion but good enough and should get a playoff spot.

Fan Adam Hudson (@AdamHtheBlade27)

Biggest Signing Mark Duffy

Main loss (player sold) Haven’t lost a main player …. yet.

Best Player: Sharp

Youth star to watch out for: Dominic Calvert Lewin

Expectations for the season: Automatic Promotion

Predictions for season: Charlton Blades PO Coventry to go up. Relegation Oldham Northampton Wimbledon Fleetwood

New face to bring new luck? New Blades boss Chris Wilder (taken from sufc.co.uk)

Shrewsbury

Manager: Micky Mellon

Ground: New Meadow

Last Season: 20th League One

My thoughts: Another side I think will be lower mid-table but avoids relegation.

Fan: Danny Davies (@danfunkindee)

Biggest signing so far probably Louie Dodds so far ex Leicester and Port Vale. Was a fan favourite at Port Vale and always seemed to be their main threat when we played them weighing in with goals.

Main loss is probably Nat Knight-Percival who has moved to Bradford. He was inspirational in our promotion season, was our captain and has good experience at this level.

As a youth team player I suppose it might be goal keeper Callum Burton who has represented England at various age groups in a similar way to how Joe Hart progressed through our academy. Callum made his league debut at Swindon last season.

My expectations are probably a top half position maybe not quite enough for the playoffs but who knows. Last season we stayed up by the skin of our teeth. There was a lot of disruption to our season amongst our players for one reason or another. Playing Bristol Rovers might be intetesting.

My tip promotion I got to say Charlton Athletic. Like Wigan last season they will be tough and expected to do well. Millwall and Sheffield United(They got to do it sometime) I expect to do well. Going down well I would probably say Wimbledon, Rochdale, Bury and Oldham. Hopefully not ourselves but you just never know in football.

New signing Louis Dodds (taken from signal2.co.uk)

Southend United

Manager: Phil Brown

Ground: Roots Hall

Last Season: 14th League One

My thoughts: Some decent summer business and a very experienced manager, I can see a strong mid-table finish this season.

Fan: Brad Pierce

Biggest signing – Simon Cox

Main Loss – Jack Payne

Best Player – Ryan Leonard

Youth player to watch out for – Jack Bridge

Expectations for the season – just miss out on the playoffs.

Tips for promotion –  Sheffield United,  Millwall and Charlton

Tips for relegation – Bolton, Oldham,  Fleetwood and Shrewsbury

New signing, Simon Cox (taken from SouthendUnited.co.uk)

Swindon Town

Manager: Luke Williams

Ground: County Ground

Last Season: 15th League One

My thoughts: Head vs heart for me. Usually over optimistic about Towns chances but it is not looking good right now. Lee Power has a lot of work to do to improve a paper thin squad and boost morale of a very upset fan base.

Fan: Ross Poole (@rkpstfc30)

Biggest Signing: Lawrence Vigouroux as I’ve not seen the others properly yet.

Main loss (player sold): Nicky Ajose

Best Player: Jon Obika

Youth star to watch out for: James Brophy

Expectations for the season:
Vast improvement on last season after keeping most of the squad together

Tip for promotion and relegation:

Promotion: 

Millwall, Scunthorpe, Peterborough.

Relegation:

Port Vale, Wimbledon, Fleetwood, Gillingham.

Swindon have a seemingly over reliance on youth players like starlet James Brophy (taken from SwindonTownfc.co.uk)

Walsall

Manager: John Whitney

Ground: Bescot Stadium

Last Season: Losing playoff semi-finalist

My thoughts: Losing Bradshaw is key here. Replace him properly and they could challenge again. Don’t and it could be a finish much further down.

Fan Steve Of Vital Walsall

Biggest signing – may well be Canadian international SIMEON JACKSON who has cost clubs a lot of money in the past and at 29 should be looking for an injury free run, ERHUN OZTUMER FROM Peterborough looks a decent signing and of course FLO CUVELIER has had a terrible time with injury and we know a fit Flo is quality. one further new face in josh ginnelly from burnley for 6 months will add some pace down the flank which did appear to be lacking and Amadou Bakayoko now has 5 goals in pre season after his brace in the 3-2 defeat at Notts on Tuesday.

Main Loss – TOM BRADSHAW as you cannot find 20 goal strikers on trees replacing him will be key to our season, hopefully Simeon and AMADOU BAKAYOKO will step up and score the goals we need

best player – we love RICO HENRY. A lad that burst into the England under 19 team last season. We have high hopes for him but not just yet hopefully.

EXPECTATIONS – I am hugely encouraged that we have bought some very good players joining the club and if we hit the floor running we can have a nibble at the play offs but its a tough ask to match or better the class of 2015-16 but we can dream cant we? Young side with some points to prove three loanees from premier and three players coming back from long term injuries so interesting season in prospect

PROMOTION TIPS – WELL the perennial under achievers Sheffield United should always be amongst the favourites, Scunthorpe ended last season like a train so if they can get out the blocks they could  do well and are my dark horses Millwall and Bradford plus the relegated teams should be strong

RELEGATION = PORT VALE have cut the budget this year, Oldham recovered well but may struggle, Wimbledon may find things tough and maybe Chesterfield

How do Walsall replace Tom Bradshaw? (taken from sportsmole.co.uk)

Prediction for final table

  1. Milwall
  2. Charlton
  3. Peterborough
  4. Sheffield United
  5. Bradford
  6. Oxford
  7. MK Dons
  8. Gillingham
  9. Swindon
  10. Coventry
  11. Chesterfield
  12. Bristol Rovers
  13. Southend
  14. Scunthorpe
  15. Walsall
  16. Northampton
  17. Bolton
  18. Bury
  19. Shrewsbury
  20. Rochdale
  21. Port Vale
  22. Wimbledon
  23. Fleetwood
  24. Oldham
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2 thoughts on “Skybet League 1 Preview 2016/17

  1. Kemar Roofe has been man of the match in all the games he’s played so far pre-season for Leeds,we love him already! Interesting stuff Steven,and well written and researched as always

    Liked by 1 person

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