By Steve Manning
With the new season almost upon us I thought I’d kick-things off with a two-part preview with a difference. Concentrating on those clubs that have joined League One – both relegated & promoted.
In Part One, I am talking about those teams who have come down to our division, what business they have done, and what they may need to add, and how I think they may fare.
• Stadium: Pride Park (33,597 all-seated)
• Year Formed: 1884 (138 years ago)
• Interim Head Coach: Leroy Rosenior
• Captain: Vacant
Derby were relegated last season in 23rd position, after being docked a combined 21 points for financial mismanagement by its previous regime.
A new season, a fresh start for the Rams, with Rooney having left the side last month, Administrator’s Quantuma appointed Assistant Head Coach Leroy Rosenior in his place.
Administration has decimated the pool of players at Rosenior’s disposal, with just 10 registered at the time of writing, which includes no goalkeepers currently. He faces a mammoth rebuilding job to be ready in time for their opener at home to Oxford United on July 30th.
Unless a host of new signings can be made, Derby will have to rely on their academy to fill any roles still left vacant in The Rams match day squad. And that in itself may well lead to a season of struggle, for a club with such a glorious past in the English game.
• Stadium: Oakwell (23,287 all-seated)
• Year Formed: 1887 (135 years ago)
• Head Coach: Michael Duff
• Captain: Vacant
The Tykes will be looking to put their abhorrent bottom placed finish last season firmly behind themselves, a campaign in which they had a change in Head Coach on no less than four occasions.
They certainly will be looking to newly appointed boss Michael Duff to do the business this season, with the mandate handed to the Northern Irishman of promotion back to the second tier at the first time of asking.
The Reds have been unscathed by the summer transfer window so far with only a few names departing Oakwell, midfielder Romal Palmer is leaving for the Turkish Second Division, after the expiration of his contract. While Striker George Miller has signed on at Doncaster Rovers on a free transfer.
Duff has already bolstered his squad with the signings of Kiwi International goalkeeper Jamie Searle from Swansea City, Robbie Cundy (defender) from Bristol City, and Irish duo – midfielder Luca Connell (Celtic), and defender Conor McCarthy (St. Mirren).
There doesn’t seem to be much disruption there, and with the brand of possession-based football that Duff likes to play I will be surprised if his team are not inside the top six at the end of the season.
• Stadium: London Road – Weston Homes Stadium (15,314 capacity)
• Year Founded: 1934
• Head Coach: Grant McCann
• Captain: Jonson-Clarke Harris
Peterborough United, and MK Dons share a unique rivalry in many ways within the EFL, it is one that wasn’t spawned from locality, but from the years spent battling each other in the early to mid 2000’s, be that either in relegation dogfights, or for promotion up the leagues.
Grant McCann returned to Peterborough from Hull City last season with a brief to keep them up in the Championship. He ultimately failed and his club fell through the relegation trap door with a game to spare of their campaign.
Posh have been very active in the transfer market early on during the summer window – out have gone: • Serhat Tasdemir (LW) – Released• Kyle Barker (DM) – Released• Jorge Grant (CM) – sold to Hearts,• Mark Beevers (CB) sold to Perth Glory (Australia)• David Cornell (GK) – signed for Preston NE( Free Transfer).
McCann has opted to take on two loan gambles with the inexperienced pair of Lucas Bergström from Chelsea, and Harry Cartwright from Hull (both keeper’s), and invested in Sutton’s electrifying winger David Ajiboye, and Leyton Orient’s Harry Kyprianou, and signed Gillingham’s Ben Thompson on a free transfer.
Personally, if they continue to sign players of Ajiboye’s quality, they should be contenders in my honest opinion. They probably do need some extra reinforcements on either wing, and in other attacking positions – but other than that they look capable of challenging again on their return to the division.
Hopefully you have enjoyed Part One, keep your eyes peeled for Part Two – where I will be discussing those clubs who were promoted from League Two.
Until next time, Steve.