Who will get promoted from League One this season?
Getting promoted from League One is no mean feat. Just ask Sheffield United. Last season the Blades saw neighbours Sheffield Wednesday nick their automatic promotion place at the death, before they then lost the most dramatic of penalty shootouts to Huddersfield in the play-off final. Having brushed themselves down and trimmed the wage bill, Danny Wilson’s men are favourites to go up this season, but with the likes of MK Dons, Swindon, Preston, Notts County and Coventry all fighting, it’s sure to be fraught. The Life’s a Pitch team assesses the main challengers’ chances.
“They’re favourites to go up, I think they’re the strongest there,” begins the Sunday Telegraph’s Duncan White of Sheffield United. ”Without Huddersfield and Wednesday competing against them, it frees them up a little bit. However, the pressure is on, they can’t afford to have a poor start. They’ve got a lot of pace up front. John Cofie’s come in from Man Utd, which Danny Wilson is excited about. If they get a good start and they get the momentum going they’ll be fine. The worry is they get mired into something and MK Dons, or one of the stronger teams, starts pushing a gap ahead of them.”
Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon are unlikely to make it back-to-back promotions and be one of the teams challenging Sheffield United, according to the Times’ Rory Smith. ”I think another promotion might be pushing it, but they won’t struggle. They’ve recruited quite well, people like Alan Navarro is a good signing. Crucially they’ve kept the young players that they’ve got together – the stars of last season. Louis Thompson, Matt Ritchie and Luke Rooney are still there, for the next two weeks at least. Swindon will be up there, top half of the table. I can’t see them getting promoted.”
Crawley will be hoping to go one better than Swindon and seal a hat-trick of promotions. But footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke doubts they’ll manage it, despite having Richie Barker in charge. “He is a very good manager, Richie Barker, they’ve got themselves a decent boss there. But I wonder if their ascent is coming to a halt because Crawley Town have a ceiling and I think League One is that ceiling. I don’t see them being promotion challengers. Yes, they’ve got funds at the manager’s disposal, but they haven’t spent a lot of money this summer and they did lose Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett last year – and they were the two strikers that propelled them into the position they’re in now.”
But Adrian does reckon MK Dons have got what it takes. “I do fancy MK Dons, I think they’ve got a very good squad. They’ve brought in Ryan Lowe, Jon Otsemobor and, in Karl Robinson, they’ve got a top, top manager in the making.”
Not wanting to be left out, Rory chucks in Coventry as a promotion tip. ”As an outside bet I think Coventry have built a decent squad. John Fleck is a good player, they stand a chance.”
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