So, after a long sleep, I move on to the League 1 division this season. Sheffield Utd, Bristol City and last season’s big boys Peterborough and Leyton Orient are all vying for the title, with a few others like Preston, Barnsley and Yeovil wanting in on it all. Here is our team-by-team look at the summer’s action, and how we think they will fare:
Barnsley have shed their Championship high-earners, and brought in some great players who have age on their side. 8 have come in, including Conor Hourihane from Plymouth and Sam Winnal, with 19 going the other way, such as Chris O’Grady and Emmanuel Frimpong. They could well be looking at a top 6 spot, and the playoffs. They are 9/2 for promotion, or 2/1 to finish in the top 6.
Bradford have had a decent summer. After losing Nakhi Wells during last season, they struggled a little. Could struggle, don’t think they will get anywhere near the top 10. Half a dozen players have come in, including Billy Knott and Alan Sheehan, with 9 going out, including Kyel Reid. They are 7/2 for relegation, and I would been quite keen on that!
Bristol City have let 9 go over the summer, and brought in enough, with quality overtaking quantity. Luke Ayling is a cracking signing from Yeovil, as is Luke Freeman – the ex-Arsenal striker could do well for them. 8/1 2nd favourite for the title, 9/4 for promotion and 8/11 to finish in the top 6. Latter two are top value!
Chesterfield were promoted late last season, and come back into League 1 with some encouraging transfers. 5 have come in, and 7 have gone. Well balanced squad that should stay up, given some of the other poor sides. You can get 6/1 for them to be relegated, but I think they will be fine in mid-table.
Colchester seem to be the bookies side to go down, with them being 6/4 to go down – only Crewe have lower odds! Personally I think they have a decent side, and have added some good players, losing very few. I honestly think they will stop up.
Coventry are still in financial bother, and it shows. 20 left this summer, with only 9 coming in. Should be fine, but will not threaten the likes of Bristol City or Sheffield Utd. Another side safe in mid-table. 11/2 for relegation? Anymore financial problems or administration…could be in trouble! Stranger things have happened.
Crawley have added some decent players. Matt Harrold, Chris Bonya and Raphael Spiegel, as well as 6 or 7 more have come in. 17 have left. Should be okay, but a couple of key players have left. 7/2 to be relegated? Think they will survive.
Crewe have just added 2, and lost 6 players, Just about survived last season but are in the thick of it with the bookies – favourites to go down, and for good reason. If Max Clayton leaves, that should spell the end unless they buy very well. 5/1 to finish bottom of the table.
Doncaster could be a dark horse this season. Reece Wabara has joined from Man City, Curtis Main from Middlesbrough and Jed Steer on loan from Villa. A few more have come in, with 10 leaving after relegation from the Championship. They are 10/3 to be promoted, and 5/4 to finish in the top 6.
Fleetwood have signed 5 and sold 7 – they have a decent squad to start with so adding a few and keeping key players was the goal, and in our eyes they should consolidate after promotion. They are 5/1 to be relegated, and 7/1 to be promoted. Can’t see either happening.
Gillingham have signed very well this summer – Ben Dickenson and Jermaine McGlashen are two astute signings from the Gills’. 15 have gone out, mostly on free transfers. Could be another dark horse if they get it right early on. possibly pushing for a top 8 finish…To be promoted is 18/1.
Leyton Orient have added a few good signings thus far. Adam Legzdins, Jobi McAnuff and Jay Simpson have joined, with the loss of Odubajo being the worst thing for them this summer. A few more are needed if they are to challenge for the title, but 5/4 to finish in the top 6 is great value!
MK Dons could finally realise their potential and head for the Championship this season, and have signed some brilliant little players to help this dream. Benik Afobe has joined on loan from Arsenal, Will Grigg from Brentford, Samir Carruthers from Villa, Danny Green and Kyle McFadzean. They have released the likes of Alan Smith, who was not doing very well with the Dons, a good move for someone who was wasting wages! Potentially a top 6 team @ 2/1, promotion is 5/1!
Notts County were average last season, going through the obligatory good and bad patches. They have let 17 go this summer, and signed up Alan Smith, Hayden Mullins, Liam Noble, Zeli Ismail from Wolves and a few more. They could do well this season, but no better than top 10 I would think.
Oldham have lost several key players over the summer, and not added too much quality. I quite fancy them to go down this season @ 9/4.
Peterborough lost their top scorer in Britt Assombalonga for £5.5m to Notts Forest, and will struggle to replace him. They have however signed Jon Taylor, Ben Alnwick and Gabriel Zakuani from Kalloni. They are 11/4 to be promoted and 5/4 to get into the top 6. Good value there!
Port Vale have lost several key players and not brought in many – the only thing I can say is they may well struggle – 7/4 to be relegated, good price!
Preston are amongst the bookmakers favourites to go up, and with them maintaining most of their squad and adding a couple such as Andy Little and Paul Gallagher. 5/2 for promotion and 8/11 to finish in the top 6.
Rochdale have purchased 5 players, and lost 7 from their promotion last season. I get the feeling they could be down the wrong end of the table unless some more quality players come in. 5/2 for relegation, could go either way!
Scunthorpe come back into League 1 with some confidence, and have also purchased a few good players for this level. Jennison-Myrie Williams, Miles Addison and Lyle Taylor along with three others, with 10 going out. They need a good start, otherwise they could find themselves in trouble. Think they will survive though.
Sheffield Utd are strong favourites for the title @ 5/1, Michael Higdon has come in from NEC as well as Alcock from Peterborough plus another 7 or 8. Plenty have gone, with the club streamlining their squad. Should get promoted at least, with odds on that @ 15/8, Top 6 finish is 4/9.
Swindon should have a good season – they have a good core of players and a couple still there from Tottenham, and have added 6-7 players, with 15 being shipped out, mostly released. Will more than likely finish around the mid-table point again this season.
Walsall had a strong start to last season, but lost Will Grigg and Milan Lalkovic went back to Chelsea having only scored 6 in 38. This summer they have signed well, and maintained most of their squad. They will be hoping to push for the top 6, and with a few more astute buys it could be possibly – 6/1 for a top 6 finish, although with the amount of quality in the league it is unlikely.
Yeovil were relegated from the Championship last season and have maintained most of their squad, with only Luke Ayling the highest profile player to leave. They have added the likes of Ben Nugent on loan and Simon Gillet, so could be in with a shot of the top 6 – 5/1 for promotion and 5/2 for a top 6 finish.
So, that’s our small summary on each side and some odds for where we think they will be. All odds are from William Hill. Here are our teams we like for the following:
Champions – Sheff Utd @ 11/2
Promotion – Sheff Utd (15/8), Bristol City (9/4), MK Dons (9/2)
Top 6 – Peterborough (5/4), Barnsley (2/1), Doncaster (5/4)
Relegation – Crewe (6/5), Oldham (9/4), Bradford (7/2), Port Vale (7/4)
Hope this helps!