League One: 2018/19 Season Preview
League One looks wide open this coming season, and RealSport’s shares their predictions for the year ahead.
League One was dominated by three sides last season as Blackburn, Wigan and Shrewsbury ran away from the rest of the league.
This year looks like it will be far tighter as there are no clear favourites after heavyweight side Sunderland.
Here are RealSport’s predictions for the League One season:
1st – Sunderland
Is it any surprise to see Sunderland installed as the early promotion favourite? They have new ownership, new management and plenty of new players for their fans to get excited about.
Charlie Wyke, Dylan McGeouch, and Jack Baldwin are the key additions but keeping players like Aiden McGeady and Bryan Oviedo might just tip them over the edge.
If Sunderland does not achieve promotion this season, then there needs to be serious questions asked at the club.
2nd – Portsmouth
Kenny Jackett has had a season to bed his ideas into Portsmouth and now it is time for them to take the next step.
As arguably the second biggest side in the league, it would be no surprise to see them finish in the automatic promotion places.
Playoff winner – Scunthorpe
Scunthorpe have flirted with promotion for the last few seasons but have failed to get the job over the line.
Could this year finally be their year? Nick Daws has a good squad to work with and his team should be targeting the playoffs.
21st – Wycombe
They have lost star player Luke O’Nien to Sunderland this summer, and it looks like Gareth Ainsworth’s side may struggle.
Survival should be the aim, but we think they may just fall short.
22nd – Accrington Stanley
Arguably the smallest side in the division, Accrington can just be happy to be here.
Over the past couple of seasons, Accrington have done exceptionally well to compete at the top of League Two, especially since their budget ranked in the bottom five of the league.
Jon Coleman, though, will strive to make sure his side are not returning to League Two, but it will be an uphill struggle.
23rd – Rochdale
They just about survived last season, but now Rochdale will have to do it all again.
Rochdale are celebrating their fourth campaign in League One, which is the longest time they have spent in the division since the 1970s.
Keith Hill, though, is a talented manager, and he has very good experience at this level, we just fear that Rochdale have batted above their weight for one season too long.
24th – Blackpool
Blackpool have been a ticking time bomb since they were relegated from the Premier League in 2011 and Gary Bowyer has a huge task if he is to keep Blackpool out of League Two.
Owen Oyston is still in charge of the club, and with him at the helm the club will struggle to attract fans and shift the hostile atmosphere at Bloomfield road.
However, the club did surprisingly well last season to finish in 12th, but this season could be a different story.
Top scorer: Jason Cummings
Jason Cummings signed for Peterborough this summer and he should help fill the void left by Jack Marriott who has left for the Championship.
The former Rangers striker struggled last season, but he did very well when he was at Hibernian. He scored 71 goals in 150 games for the Hibees.
Peterborough were a side who knew where the net was last season and Cummings will find chances aplenty. Do not be surprised to see him break the 25 goal mark.
Manager of the year: Mark Robins
Coventry are finally on the way up after spending the last few years tumbling through the Football League.
Last season they won the League Two playoff’s and have finally turned around the downward momentum at the club.
There is still plenty of work for Coventry to do, but they are finally heading in the right direction.
The Sky Blues have a good manager and Robins could help guide his side to a top six finish and if he does, he deserves to win the manager of the year award.
Young player of the year: Jason McCarthy
The former Southampton youth product transferred to Barnsley this summer, and it looks like it could be very shrewd business.
He has spent the last couple of seasons out on loan at Wycombe and Walsall where he impressed. Now he is getting the chance to play regularly on a permanent basis – something he will thrive on.
Can he help Barnsley to promotion? He will certainly be a big help for the Tykes and at 21-years-old would be a potential candidate for young player of the year.
Player of the year: Dylan McGeouch
Sunderland somehow snapped up the Hibernian player this summer despite interest from SPL clubs and Championship sides.
With the quality of players around him, McGeouch should thrive. Sunderland have built the strongest side in the division and the crown jewel of the side is McGeouch – so expect him to be in the running for player of the year.
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