League One: Star Sports Graduate Intern Cameron Brown looks at the start of the League One season, with some recommended bets based on the evidence seen so far.
League One has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons so far and it will be a season that will be remembered forever. Unfortunately, League One Lost Bury FC as they were expelled from the football league after C&N Sporting Risk pulled the plug on a potential takeover. It’s an awful thing to see happen to a club with such a rich, passionate following and the football world came together to give waves of support to the club. Recently developments suggest that Greater Manchester Combined Authority and local MP’s are working on a proposal to see them enter into League Two for the 2020/21 campaign, but that’s a story for another day. Bolton Wanderers also teetered on the edge of expulsion but managed to seal a takeover thanks to Football Ventures (Whites) but still must live with a 12 point deduction. As nobody’s sure what’s happening in terms of relegation yet, this blog post will only focus on the promotion battle.
Starting at the top of the League, we find undefeated joint favourites, Ipswich Town, sitting pretty with 4 wins and 2 draws. After being relegated from the Championship last season they will be looking to bounce straight back. Currently at 7/2 they are tied in the odds with Sunderland to take the crown. They managed a draw against the Black Cats in the second game of the season and are currently enjoying a 3 game consecutive winning streak. Sunderland will be looking to go one better their playoff final disappointment from last season so will be putting the pressure on at every opportunity. However, they currently sit in 6th position as last week’s 3-0 undoing at the hands to Peterborough United have put them on the back foot.
It’s been whirlwind of good starts for many League One clubs with Ipswich, Blackpool, Coventry, Wycombe and Doncaster all going into their next fixtures undefeated. If they can continue this form, then promotion could be a real possibility. Blackpool and Coventry both look solid and currently trade at 5/1 to play Championship football next season but Wycombe, currently at 14/1, have had some close shaves against relegation zone opposition. They will need to tighten up ship if they want to fight for their playoff place. Coventry have also had a couple of games in which they would believe they deserved all three points, most notably a 0-0 draw to labouring Bolton. It is because of this that Blackpool look like good value to go all the way.
Doncaster have played one less than the other teams here and are 7/1 to gain promotion. They managed to sneak into the playoffs last season ultimately loosing to eventual winners Charlton Athletic.
Peterborough made some bold movements in the summer transfer window which surely suggested that they were pushing for Championship football. George Boyd, Frankie Kent and Niall Mason all joined in the summer and have enjoyed a fair amount of playtime. The Posh got off to a poor start losing their opening 2 games and drawing their 3rd. Since, then they have enjoyed a 3-game winning streak pushing them up to 7th in the League. If this new-found form can continue, then they can be serious contenders for promotion.
Portsmouth have been looking to find similar form to that of their glory days to get them back to the top flight of English football. The club almost got one step closer as they looked as though they may get automatic promotion to the Championship for most of last season.
Unfortunately for Pompey, it fell apart towards the end of the campaign and could only make the playoffs where they were beaten by Sunderland in the first round. They went into this season looking to finally gain promotion and climb the EFL steps once more but have had a less than desirable start. Only managing 5 points from 5 games, they have secured just one win against newly promoted Tranmere Rovers. 6/1 for Pompey to win the league is holding less and less value for the punter as it looks like a long shot. If they manage to turn this form around and emulate some of the quality performances that they managed last season then the playoffs may be their best chance.
Predictions for the top 6 have been based on current form and the opening 6 fixtures
League One is looking very competitive this season and much like the Championship will be very hard to predict. The playoff places will be fought for competitively by a multitude of teams looking to gain promotion and this is how I think it will play out:
1. Ipswich Town
I believe that Ipswich Town will see this through and bounce straight back up to England’s second step along with Sunderland in a close second. It will be a hard battle for the title, but both will be moving up when it’s all said and done. Playoff places will be hotly contested, and Lincoln’s positive start should continue and if it does there will be no reason as to why they can’t be up there. Blackpool have started fantastically and if this stellar run of form continues, they will be big contenders for the final promotion spot. Peterborough’s new-found form shows a strong case as to why they should be considered for playoff places as well as Doncaster who can never be ruled out although promotion looks unlikely. Cameron Brown
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