It’s that time of year again. Every team and supporters dare to think that this season might just be the one. Each Game As It Comes did some predictions last year, and although got a couple right, also got some shockingly wrong (Scunthorpe for promotion from League One anyone?). Not to be deterred, we’ll have another go this season. The Premier League doesn’t start for two weeks, so plenty of things to still be determined (not mentioning the names Bale, Rooney and Suarez), we’ll do our predictions for the top league in a later post.
Famously unpredictable, we should really just pull names out of a hat, however we’d like to think having seen our favourite team in this league for long enough, we might have some idea. Last season proved we had anything but, hey-ho….
Champions: Bolton Wanderers
Runners Up: Watford
Play-Offs: Wigan Athletic, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town, Reading
Relegated: Millwall, Blackpool, Yeovil
We predicted Bolton to win the title last season and after a poor start and the removal of Owen Coyle, they made a late recovery to nearly sneak into the Play-Offs. Some useful additions to the squad without a complete overhaul should see them do better this year, and we fancy them to go all the way. Watford have similarly kept the nucleus of their squad, plus added some more foreign flair to make their squad very strong, so must fancy going one better than last year’s third place.
Of all the clubs to push them close, we fancy Wigan who have lost some of their big names but have added some valuable experience that could prove very useful in the Championship long haul. Reading may well have a hangover from a very disappointing Premier League season, but have enough experience of the Championship to mount a play off challenge. Billy Davies had revitalised a disappointing season for Nottingham Forest, and we fancy he will help them towards a play off challenge. There’s always an outsider who makes it in, and this year we reckon Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich will be that team.
Of the other clubs, QPR are most fancied to top the table with the bookies, but we just don’t see Harry having enough magic to change the shambles of last season into a promotion challenge. Last year’s Play Off semi finalists Brighton have had a lot of upheaval over the summer to cope with, so we think a top 10 finish for them but no more.
At the bottom, Yeovil are unsurprisingly favourites to return to League One, and with the majority of their signings coming from the lower leagues, we just don’t think they have enough to survive. Millwall have lost the excellent Kenny Jackett, and though his successor Steve Lomas has made a couple of decent signings, we think they might have a season of struggle. Blackpool have cut back as the parachute money runs out, and there are rumours of discontent at the club, not a good sign, and we think it may cost the Lancashire club their Championship place.
Champions: Wolverhampton Wanderers
Runners Up: Brentford
Play-Offs: MK Dons, Gillingham, Preston North End, Peterborough United
Relegated: Coventry City, Colchester United, Carlisle United, Swindon Town
We’re looking a lot at managers in League One. We think Wolves have finally made a decent appointment in Kenny Jackett, and although it’s been quiet in the transfer market, Wolves had the players to do a lot better last year, perhaps they just needed the right direction. Brentford got close on two occasions, and as long as they don’t suffer a hangover, Uwe Rosler’s men should be a good bet to finish in the top two. Peterborough have been fancied for promotion straight back to the Championship, we’re not convinced they have enough for the top two, but certainly enough for the Play Offs. MK Dons have always been hovering just outside the play offs, this year might just be the year they break in, and we also fancy Gillingham’s League Two form to carry them onwards and upwards, and we fancy Preston as an outsider to make the final play off spot.
At the bottom, last year’s strugglers Colchester and Carlisle have done little to suggest a change in fortunes this time round. Both Coventry and Swindon have had traumatic summers, and with Coventry bringing no new faces in, it’s all downhill for them into League Two. Swindon start the season with half of Spurs’ Reserves but no manager, and frankly the latter could prove costly.
Champions: Fleetwood Town
Promoted: Portsmouth, Burton Albion
Play-Offs: Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle, Scunthorpe United, Northampton Town
Relegated: Dagenham & Redbridge, Newport County
Could this be the year that finally puts a smile back on the faces of long suffering Pompey fans? Finally in careful hands and out of administration, the bookies have them odds on to win League Two. We fancy Fleetwood to pip them to the post after a raft of summer signings, and Burton have strengthened their play off squad to hopefully go one better this time round. In the play offs, Bristol Rovers were one of the most improved sides in the second half of last season, and a continuation of that form will see them looking upwards this time round. We also fancy a dramatic turn around at Home Park and see Plymouth as the dark horses to sneak into the play offs, and of the clubs coming down, Scunthorpe look best prepared to return at the first time of asking. Finally, Northampton under the shrewd managership of Aidy Boothroyd should have another play off campaign to look forward to.
At the bottom, Dagenham & Redbridge escaped by the skin of their teeth last time round and we don’t see them being so lucky this season. It’s always tough for clubs coming up, and we fear most for Newport County, but likely last season to be a close run thing.
So there you go, we’ve made our predictions…let us know what you think below!