League One 1-24 Predictions 2023/24: Will Derby, Bolton Or Portsmouth Go Up?

Here are our predictions for the League One season
09:00, 04 Aug 2023

League One is back for another season and we’ve put together our 1-24 predictions for the upcoming campaign. After Plymouth Argyle hit 100 points and Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday were both promoted last term, it feels like a more open league this time around. Here is what we think will happen. 

24th: Cambridge United

Mark Bonner is a superb manager but Cambridge only just stayed up last term. Now arguably their five best players, including Joe Ironside and Harvey Knibbs have left the club leaving them incredibly short all over the pitch. It feels as though they won’t be rescued this time. 

23rd: Cheltenham Town 

Cheltenham achieved a remarkable promotion under Michael Duff from League Two a few years ago but now the likes of Alfie May have all moved on. Wade Elliott is in charge but it looks like they could lack goals without the talent of May. 

22nd: Exeter City

They’ve lost Jevani Brown, Josh Key and Archie Collins as well as Jay Stansfield and it feels as though the club has regressed since influential boss Matt Taylor joined Rotherham. Now Gary Caldwell has a big task on his hands with a handful of unproven signings joining the ranks this summer. 

21st: Reading

Reading’s off the pitch issues are killing the club. They are now seeking new investment but their financial problems have once again led to a transfer embargo. While they have brought in Charlie Savage and Harvey Knibbs, the very future of the club is at risk. Ruben Selles is now the manager and there could be another points deduction on the way. Their squad is threadbare, and they are in for another horrendous season. 

20th: Fleetwood Town

Fleetwood owner Andy Pilley has been jailed for 13 years and it seems as though the club are in murky waters. There’s been little clarity over what happens now and, given that the fanbase isn’t large enough to sustain itself at this level, they could fall back down the leagues. With the likes of Jayden Stockley, they have a decent squad for this level but who knows what happens next with those players. 

19th: Stevenage

Steve Evans’ Stevenage used all their physicality and set-piece strength to make it up to League One against the odds, and despite a relatively large turnover this summer they should be able to repeat the trick. Dan Butler is a particularly handy signing at left-back and Evans’ experience should serve them well. 


18th: Carlisle United

League Two play-off winners Carlisle went on an incredible run to make the play-off final and, under Paul Simpson, they should be fine this term. They’ve got three players who were on loan last season, including Finn Back, back on permanent deals and that should help them make a relatively smooth transition into League One. 

17th: Shrewsbury Town

Another side that has experienced a big transfer window. Steve Cotterill has been replaced by Matt Taylor and they still retain the midfield talents of Jordan Shipley and Tom Bayliss, who should steer them clear of danger. 

16th: Leyton Orient 

The League Two winners are looking good this term. Led by Richie Wellens, a man with a point to prove at this level, they should be clear of relegation danger. The only concerns are the loss of Lawrence Vigouroux and Paul Smyth, arguably their two best players from last term. Still, they should be fine. 

15th: Port Vale

Darrell Clarke was replaced by assistant Andy Crosby at the end of last season and their recruitment policy has changed this summer. Will Forrester will be the biggest loss at the back but their new signings have come in the form of exciting youngsters. Ellis Harrison will need to score more goals, and that is potentially a weak point of a side that should be mid-table. 

14th: Northampton Town

The team who have been knocking on the door of League One for the past two years finally broke through with a third-place finish in League Two. Jon Brady has been an excellent leader for the Cobblers, while the summer business has been good. Tyreece Simpson could be a smart addition up front, while getting Marc Leonard back for another year feels like a coup.

13th: Wigan Athletic

Despite their eight-point deduction, things are looking brighter at Wigan. Under Shaun Maloney they became more competitive at the back end of last season and they should be able to escape danger this term. The loss of Jack Whatmough was tough to take this summer but they’ve brought in a whole host of new faces, and one familiar one in the form of Callum McManaman. They should have enough to get themselves up into mid-table. 


12th: Wycombe Wanderers

The first full season without Gareth Ainswoth in a generation. Now Matt Bloomfield is at the helm, and we still aren’t sure how they will cope in this era. Kane Vincent-Young, Luke Leahy and Richard Keogh have all come in to strengthen the squad, and they might be a top-10 side if Bloomfield can flourish.

11th: Burton Albion 

Burton’s start to last season was utterly horrific yet Dino Maamria took charge and steered them to mid-table. He was brilliant but this window has been a little topsy-turvy. Mason Bennett, Cole Stockton and Rekeem Harper should be exciting additions and, with a good start, they ought to be more competitive. 

10th: Barnsley

The play-off final losers could have been the ones to beat this summer. However, the losses of Michael Duff and Mads Andersen have dealt a hammer blow to their promotion chances and they are unlikely to be as competitive this time around, even in a weaker division. Neill Collins is the new man in charge, and Barnsley have got most of their managerial appointments right recently, but it feels like a big ask for them to repeat the feat. 

9th: Lincoln City

Mark Kennedy impressed last season as Lincoln finished 11th and they only lost four of 20 against top-10 teams. It’s a young squad with high potential while the arrival of Tyler Walker could give them the natural goalscorer they may have lacked in recent years. This is a club back on the up.

8th: Oxford United

Karl Robinson’s long reign at Oxford ended last term, and he was replaced by the highly-rated Liam Manning. At Milton Keynes Dons things went disastrously wrong for him, but the poor squad could explain that. Now at Oxford, he’s brought in Ruben Rodrigues from Notts County and Josh McEachren to fix their creative issues. They should go well this term.

7th: Peterborough United

The side that threw away a 4-0 lead in a play-off semi-final should come close again, but there’s a feeling they might just miss out this term. The future of Golden Boot winner Jonson Clarke-Harris is still uncertain, they are trying to shift him out of the club, while Jack Taylor and Joe Ward have already departed. Archie Collins has been brought in and Darren Ferguson is extremely experienced, but they may not be quite as good as they were last term. 

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6th: Bristol Rovers

Joey Barton has signed Luke Thomas, James Wilson, George Friend and Jevani Brown, while at the time of writing Aaron Collins, League One’s Player of the Year last term, remains at the club. The experienced Scott Sinclair was also a handy asset, along with John Marquis. There’s a lot to like about this squad. 

5th: Portsmouth

John Mousinho has already brought in 12 new players this summer and it was a squad that needed new blood. Now the fanbase is back onside and behind the new manager, which should carry them into the play-offs. Colby Bishop can handle the goalscoring responsibility and now Mousinho has to get the best out of a strong squad. 

4th: Blackpool

Neil Critchley is back at Blackpool. Forget anything that has gone before, and just remember how good he was last time he was at Bloomfield Road as he led them to a League One play-off final win. Now it has come full circle and he is back, with a strong squad for the level even without Jerry Yates. They may have to go through the play-offs again however. 

3rd: Charlton Athletic

Alfie May, Harry Isted and Panutche Camara all playing for the same League One team? That strong summer window has pushed the Addicks up the division and they should be able to compete with any side in the league. The only question comes with manager Dean Holden. He hasn’t quite got going at any club, but now that he has his feet under the table it is time to produce. Whatever happens to Holden, Charlton should be highly competitive.

2nd: Derby County

Paul Warne only just missed out on the top six last season but now in a weaker renewal they should be right up there. They’ve lost David McGoldrick but the arrivals of Sonny Bradley, Joe Ward and Curtis Nelson should strengthen their defence. James Collins can be trusted to find the goals and Warne is so good in League One. 

1st: Bolton Wanderers

Ian Evatt’s Bolton are heading to the Championship. They finished fifth last term, but the year-on-year progress under Evatt is set to continue. They’ve lost loanee James Trafford, which is an issue, but Nathan Baxter should be a suitable replacement. With two promotions to his name, Evatt should be able to get this talented side over the line. 

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