The new Football League season is now only a matter of weeks away and clubs up and down the country are preparing for the off. Clubs in League One and Two have bore the brunt of the pandemic, but now they will be able to welcome fans back to their stands once again. Let’s look at where the early value could lie in League One.
Sunderland are favourites for League One under Lee Johnson but their repeated failure and the sale of top scorer Charlie Wyke to Wigan leaves me unconvinced. Talking of the Latics, they are a healthily priced 12/1 given their owners have brought in Max Power, Stephen Humphreys and Wyke and don’t look done in the transfer window yet.
Sheffield Wednesday are far too unstable to back at their current price of 8/1, although they do have the quality to feature at the top end of the division. Charlton still need a few more bodies to go further than the top six, and Danny Cowley’s Portsmouth should be in the mix but their squad looks weak, so for me two sides stand out.
Paul Cook’s Ipswich Town are building an incredibly strong squad for this level, and in Cook they have a man who has won this league before. They are the pick at 15/2, but Rotherham United are still under Paul Warne who has been promoted the last two times the Millers have been in this league and Freddie Ladapo is a class above at this level.
I’ve mentioned several of the contenders in the promotion bracket, but Lincoln City seem way down the pecking order, given they only lost the play-off final last season. Michael Appleton has proved himself to be a top manager at this level and his side will look to go again this term, while the signing of Sunderland’s Chris Maguire should strengthen them. 7/4 for a top six finish seems generous for a side that achieved that goal last season, while the same price for Rotherham with Betfred looks smart.
Wycombe are sure to be an interesting watch this term under Gareth Ainsworth after their unfortunate relegation from the Championship. They earnt a shock promotion two years ago and it seems as if the bookers are backing against them doing the same thing here, they are out at 5/2 to make the top six.
Morecambe are clear favourites to go straight back down to League Two after their shock promotion last season. Given they have lost manager Derek Adams to Bradford, new boss Stephen Robinson has a big job on his hands to avoid the bottom four, but it isn’t impossible and at Evens for relegation, clearly the value lies elsewhere.
Newly promoted Cheltenham should be okay under Michael Duff, while I am also positive on Cambridge’s chances of survival after Mark Bonner’s sensational performance last year so this looks like being an incredibly tight relegation battle.
Having lost Joe Piggott, AFC Wimbledon tickle my fancy at 3/1 more than any others. Mark Robinson’s inexperience in the dugout at this level may come back to haunt them, given the strength of others around them. Accrington will also do well to avoid the drop but John Coleman has overachieved every season during his tenure so far, so they may well survive.