Terry Pierce - League One Season Preview
Published: 26 Jul 2010 - 09:14:39
With the start of the npower Football League season less than a fortnight away, Football.co.uk's npower Football League blogger Terry Pierce moves on to League One this week.
League One is a darn sight easier to predict than the bottom tier. In fact, at times last year there were three divisions in one, with the top seven miles ahead of the rest.
And it doesn’t look like being too different this time around, with an almighty scrap between seven or eight sides for the top spots, a handful who are already consigned to mid-table and the rest desperate for mere survival.
- League One News / League One Fixtures
In the third tier, like any other league, money talks and Southampton have the paper stuff coming out of their ears.They already boast a ridiculously good strike force in the shape of Rickie Lambert, Lee Barnard and David Connolly and have got the cheque book out over the summer to strengthen at full-back, with Frazier Richardson, Ryan Dickson and Danny Butterfield heading south.If they add one or two more faces, particularly in the centre of the park, next season could well be the canter that their fans love to predict.
But the Saints won't have it all their own way. Huddersfield Town have caught the eye with their summer transfer dealings and their new-look centre midfield partnership of Scott Arfield and Joey Gudjohnsen looks tasty, while Gary Naysmith and Jamie McCombe should help reduce the 'goals against' column that held them back last year.
Swindon and Charlton finished in the top six alongside the Terriers last season but will have a battle on their hands to push for a play-off spot again after losing key players.
The Robins have lost top scorer Billy Paynter and skipper Gordon Greer but the capture of David Prutton to play alongside Jonathan Douglas looks shrewd business and their links with Premier League sides will see a number of promising loanees arrive in Wiltshire.
The Addicks have also lost their top striker - Deon Burton - and their captain - Nicky Bailey - as well as another five of the 11 that played Swindon in the play-offs, and with the financial constraints currently being experienced, Phil Parkinson has so far struggled to find replacements.
Alongside the Saints and the three losing sides in last year's play-offs, the three promoted sides will be hoping to bounce back the Championship at the first attempt.
Sheffield Wednesday have signed some proven quality at this level, with Paul Heffernan, Neil Mellor and Clinton Morrison combining to create a rather strong strike-force, but they could yet lose a couple of key names ahead of the kick-off, with Lee Grant and Marcus Tudgay linked with moves away from Hillsborough.
Peterborough also look in good shape and with Gary Johnson at the helm they'll be in with a shout of a top six finish, but Plymouth are in desperate need of investment if they're to challenge. New boss Peter Reid has yet to really dip his toes in the transfer market and he'll need to make some big moves if Argyle are to be competitive this season.
Brighton look the best placed from last year's also-rans to make an impact on the upper echelons of League One, and with a move to their new stadium on the horizon, everyone in Sussex will be busting a gut to get back to the Championship in time for the move.
At the other end, two of the four promoted sides - Notts County and Bournemouth - will have more than enough to survive and may even push for mid-table obscurity.However, the other two - Rochdale and Dagenham & Redbridge - would bite your hand off if you offered them survival right now.
Tranmere just about survived last year and are in for another tough season, while up in the North East, Hartlepool fans will be praying rumours of a big cash injection are true because without they're almost nailed on for the drop.
Carlisle, Exeter, Oldham and Yeovil will all be looking over their shoulders for the majority of the campaign but should have enough to pull clear of the bottom four, although one of them may slip into trouble.
If the promotion battle is anywhere near as intense and dramatic as last season, the top end of League One will once again be a cracking spectacle, but for sides such as Oldham and Hartlepool, who have been dodging the bullet of relegation for a couple of seasons, this campaign may finally be one too many.
Tip for the top Southampton
Outside bet Brighton
Destined for the drop Hartlepool
READ TERRY PIERCE EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK EVERY MONDAY
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
- Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.
Previous Blog Posts
- A busy Easter in the Football League
- Momentum the key for Reading, Rochdale and Stevenage
- Why Martin Allen was right to dump Barnet for Notts County
- Swindon set to complete unthinkable fall from grace
- League Two strugglers set for very different futures
- Gradi achievements rightfully recognised
- Millwall crowd trouble highlights FA incompetence
- Stadium move inspires Chesterfield success
- High-flying Swansea destined for the Premier League
- Scunthorpe and Sheffield United set for six-pointer
- 5 Football League volleys to rival Rooney's
- Plymouth on the brink of extinction
- Transfer window winners and losers
- Boothroyd's honeymoon period comes to an end
- Championship new-comers find their feet with ease
- Macclesfield mourn yet again
- New year, new start for Championship strugglers
- Football League managers' Christmas wish-lists
- Unconvincing Keane on the brink at Ipswich
- To boo or not to boo - that is the question
- Milan Mandaric: Hero or villain?
- Ferguson Junior calm under pressure
- Bothroyd England call-up confirms Capello's madness
- AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons: The real story
- Seagulls flying towards promotion
- Clinical Cardiff ooze Premier League class
- Boro meltdown started with the sacking of Southgate
- League One made the most of the limelight
- Leicester may regret welcoming Cirque du Sven
- Malky Mackay's youthful Watford are buzzing
- Marlon King returns to the last-chance saloon
- Sensible Burnley show others how it's done
- Hope: Lifeblood of the tortured football fan
- Southampton will regret Pardew sacking
- Warnock fits the bill for QPR
- There's more to life than football
- Portsmouth deserve to be punished
- Championship season preview
- League One Season Preview
- League Two season preview
- World Cup 2010 never caught fire
- European challenge on the ropes
- Groundhog day for England
- Gerrard must play central role for England
- No fear for Millwall in the Championship
- Cardiff fans have reason for optimism
- The beauty of the play-offs
- Leeds hold their nerve to get over the line
- Wednesday are in far better shape than Palace