some cheaty predictions about the EFL — so if i feck it up, it’s even worse — LEAGUE ONE 20/21

So I’ve already cheated about the Champo, so we’re ganna go one league down now, to League One.
Which makes the Championship League Zero. And the Premier League, League Minus One?

It’s Division Three.

I don’t need to explain that to you.

This’ll either make me look a lot worse if I get it wrong, but a feckin genius if I’ve analysed play correctly.

Here are my predictions for the EFL League One.

STANLEY

Probs more of the same for these lads. They’ve consolidated with additions to their squad and I reckon they could really nail down on the ownership of a spot in lower mid-table for the next few seasons.
And you know what? That ain’t bad. A lot of clubs would take a slow build right now.

Prediction: 17th

WIMBLEDON

They got their new stadium and they’re obvs hungry, so opposition clubs will have to be careful they ain’t serving themselves up in any way, shape, or form, otherwise The Wombles will feast, and Uncle Bulgaria’s got a big appetite. But perhaps so busy looking for food, they often forget to protect what they already have, and other predators nick that.
Not only am I protecting mid-table, but I’m predicting a near-perfect split record, like 15 wins, 15 losses, 16 draws, 52 goals scored, 52 conceded, somet like that.

Prediction: 13th

BLACKPOOL

I reckon Critch could struggle here. He’s made some brave decisions regarding departures, sending the likes of Callum MacDonald and Liam Feeney out on loan, but he’s clearly imposed himself and he’ll get the squad playing his way. They’re just gonna need a bit of time to get full boil.

Prediction: 14th

BRISTOL ROVERS

After a shocking start, Benny Garner seems to have sorted himself and his team out over the Summer. But they lack the swagger that this team could have. Garner’s got ’em playing meat and potatoes football when these lads are capable of coq au vin.
They’ll be safe, but The Gas might reassess their options before season’s end.

Prediction: 18th

BURTON

The Brewers seem to have been hit hard by financial issues in the wake of the pandemic. Their manager stepped down and a lot of names involved in their build had to leave. But the signings they sought out were smart, and their promotions from within were decent, if a necessity.
Their defence is gonna be their downfall though, and their attack will be worked out soon enough, meaning goals will dry up. Burton have had a rough start, and sadly, I dannae reckon it’ll get better.

Prediction: 22nd

CHARLTON

A new owner brings new, but suspicious, optimism to The Valley, and actually, League One might have been what they needed to christen it. Survival in the Championship would have brought another season of on-field issues, but now, they take a strong squad into League One with the opportunity to prep ’em for another crack at the Champo.
They might have lost a few lads, but the fact they’ve kept Mr. Bowyer knocking about is the biggest coup of ’em all. Along with the ownership and the cracker attacker signings, this looks like it’s gon’ be a very positive season for The Addicks.
Whatever an Addick is.

Prediction: 3rd

CREWE

These lot crafted a solid squad in League Two and it was about time they came up. That being said, League One is a different ball game and the existing squad plus a few new signings will have to adapt. The likes of Omar Beckles will aid that, and then Perry Ng will continue to personify a stingy defence that won’t concede many, but it will be up front where they stutter.
I can see Artell’s plan being concrete survival that lays foundations, and he’s just the man to deliver that.

Prediction: 15th

DONCASTER

I love a bit of Darren Moore at Donny. He’s running a tight ship that can surprise a few and overpower a few more, and though the squad might be lacking a bit of star-power, the hive-mind of this unit could make a lot of stars.
The passion of James Coppinger alone should be enough to get ’em into the play-offs, and in a tough league, there’s few tougher, but resources will play a part here, and that might be the decisive blow for The Rovers.

Prediction: 8th

FLEETWOOD

It’s the last year of Barton’s contract, and if he doesn’t do it this time, it’s probs his last go-round with The Cod Army. He’s kept the integral cogs of his Cod Clock and acquired wisely, in-keeping with his tactical approach, so expect another strong outing for Fleetwood that might just take Barton all the way at the third attempt.

Prediction: 4th

GILLINGHAM

This is gonna be a measured approach from the forever-measured Steve Evans and his boys. They’ve looked like perpetual mid-tablers for a while now, and despite some flash bargain signings, they look set to remain too good to go down, too old-fashioned to go up.
It’ll be an improvement, but with loans expiring and ages increasing, it’ll be a job that needs repeating come next term.

Prediction: 12th

HULL

They’ve stuck with their man McCann, good! But they’ve also stuck with their man Allam, not so good. Maybe everyone can work together in harmony? It’ll be a lot easier if the lads on the pitch do that, and it looks like that’s what’s being concocted at The KCOM. Last season saw a group of players each too good to go down flounder match after match. This season, they get to display their talent at a level they can manage, helping each other through it, and bonding in the process.
They’ll become great friends, and they’ll have a few more best friends if promotion can be attained.

Prediction: 5th

IPSWICH

I ain’t expecting the drop-off to happen again this season. After falling off a cliff at the turn of the year last season, Ipswich looked set to be forgotten, but they’ve picked ‘emselves up over the Summer and the likes of Chambers, Woolfenden and Edwards will propel them on. Add to this the promising youth coming through, and Ipswich not only have a shout at automatic promotion, but a foundation for the Champo next time out.

Prediction: 1st

LINCOLN

A couple of League Two standouts have really put a sheen on Michael Appleton’s side. Alex Palmer, Theo Archibald and Callum Morton strike fear across the pitch, and with surprising departures in defence, the biggest surprise looks to be the form of Lewis Montsma, signed from Dordrecht, who looks a hell of a pick-up and a team of the season shoo-in.
They’ll need the form of Palmer, Montsma, and main goal-scorer Jorge Grant to remain unflappable, but that’s a big ask, and with all the fire-power at the top of the league, The Imps could end up as the team with no cigar.

Prediction: 9th

MK DONS

Russell has picked up experienced players with an eye towards ugly but effective survival. Which sounds unfair, but with Cameron Jerome and Carlton Morris leading your line, you don’t need looks. Richard Keogh will no doubt shore up the back, but the frishest signing is that of Scott Fraser, a cheap pick-up from Burton who could galvanise this MK side with his measured, yet aggressive, approach.
Martin and the boys are gonna grind out results this season, and could well finish more comfortably than many think they can.

Prediction: 16th

NORTHAMPTON

Tricky-dicky here. The Cobblers lost a lot of big-time players after their promotion, and though they’ve done their best to replace them, they’d have rather not gone through the ordeal at all. A lot of the new lads played well in League Two or lower, so a step-up, along with playing for a new team, could be a lot.
That being said, they’ve retained a large portion of their rigidity and the players can scrap with the best of them, so if Curle and his boys are indeed coiled in a relegation scrap, expect drama.

Prediction: 19th

OXFORD

A slow start isn’t indicative of what last season’s play-off final runner-up will achieve this season. They’ve just started to get cooking and they recovered from a slow start last time to nearly make it all the way, so can it be the same again? With a near-identical core squad for Robinson to work with, his system should be well in place, but to ask them to adapt to the changing environment is a tough task. It will be out of Oxford’s control because sometimes you need a bit of venom to cure a snake bite.

Prediction: 10th

PETERBOROUGH

Currently top of the table, probably riding the wave of bitterness that has bled over last season, Posh will hope the tide carries them all the way.
Still powerful despite the loss of their POTS Ivan Toney, they simply look too strong and bolstered across the board to drop too far off. They’ll likely avoid the mid-season slump that doomed them last time, and with what could be a League One Super Team, they’ll be the opposite of lost.

Prediction: 2nd

PLYMOUTH

It doesn’t make a tonne of sense to me that these lot are going as well as they are thus far, and I think that’s testimony to the job that Ryan Lowe is doing and the quality of his skills. He has made himself one with Argyle and implemented a sound structure that compliments the current financial landscape of EFL clubs and he deserves praise for that, but to get them to play like they are is another miracle altogether.
It’s gonna be a tall order to get ’em into the play-offs, but it’s one that Lowe will take on and push to the very end, and he and his boys won’t end up too far away.

Prediction: 11th

PORTSMOUTH

Strong players sway though Fratton Park and display the idea that this is a club to be feared. On the Pompey side though, impatience is creeping in. There’s a feeling this team is underachieving, and that little voice at the back of their head, lambasting them for not running away with the league, could be a killer.
Jackett’s time may be up if promotion isn’t achieve and though he’s far from letting pressure get to him, his lads might start to sweat sooner.
Are they ready? Is it time? Or will their power pale in comparison to the other body-builders whom have less pressure on their massive shoulders?

Prediction: 7th

ROCHDALE

They’ve got a squad (including a manager) who know how to play this League One game, they know how it works and they know the tricks to pull off. But each season they become harder to pull off, each season they change slightly, and these this Rochdale side might not be able to keep up this time. The departure of a talisman has lead to some risky signings up top that don’t look set to pay the dividends The Dale demand.
Their strong defence will be putting in a shift and look out for on-loan ‘keeper Gavin Bazunu to shine, but the cracks where the light breaks through are gonna be small.

Prediction: 20th

SHREWSBURY

Anyone expecting The Shrews to score more goals this season, I would nae hod thy breath. Even with a slew of talented strikers and attacking midfielders at their disposal, it just seems as if the way they line-up doesn’t lend itself to scoring goals. Luckily for them, it does lend itself to defence, and even with the departure of Omar Beckles, Sammy Boy’s side can still count themselves as one of the tightest defences… In the bottom half of the table. That mask can soon slip though, and failure to change may lead to Ricketts being out of a job and the side needing to change gears, which the strikers will certainly want to do, but it’s whether the conversion will be a quick one.
Regardless of the managerial flim-flam, somet needs to change up top or The Shrews will be easily tamed and sent back underground.

Prediction: 23rd

SUNDERLAND

Like Portsmouth, the pressure is building at the Stadium of Light. Unlike Portsmouth, The Black Cats had a fancy documentary that brought to light backstage turmoil for the club. There’s sympathy and support for Sunderland, as well as belief that Phil Parkinson and his boys can force their way up. The squad is trim, but stacked, and ready to at least hang on to the play-off spot they currently occupy.

Prediction: 6th

SWINDON

As I write this, Swindon sit just above the relegation zone and manager Richie Wellens has left for Salford, leaving assistant Noel Hunt in charge.
On the precipice in more ways than one.
And after losing main attacking threats from their League Two-winning campaign like Keshi Anderson and Eoin Doyle and failing to replace them convincingly, one could perhaps forgive Robins fans for being pessimistic about the rest of the season ahead.
They’ll battle, but it seems they’re jumping in head-first without a weapon.

Prediction: 24th

WIGAN

This is the story right here.
Everything that’s happened regarding the club has clearly affected the team and not just in terms of player (and manager) departures. They’ve done what they can in terms of replacing talent, and have brought in a seasoned manager in John Sheridan, because that gives them more of a chance.
Players will show heart, they’re not toothless, but the ask may be too great, and bar a great escape, Wigan will be doomed to successive relegations.

Prediction: 21st

— —

1. Ipswich Town
2. Peterborough United
3. Charlton Athletic
4. Fleetwood Town
5. Hull City
6. Sunderland
7. Portsmouth
8. Doncaster Rovers
9. Lincoln City
10. Oxford United
11. Plymouth Argyle
12. Gillingham
13. AFC Wimbledon
14. Blackpool
15. Crewe Alexandra
16. MK Dons
17. Accrington Stanley
18. Bristol Rovers
19. Northampton Town
20. Rochdale
21. Wigan Athletic
22. Burton Albion
23. Shrewsbury Town
24. Swindon Town

Aye, I’m happy with that.

Are The Tractor Boys on course for their first piece of silverware in over twenty years?
This guy thinks so. This guy thinks they’ve done gone worked it out.

Power continues to cascade down the divisions as most clubs share the wealth and each division becomes stronger and more competitive. A league that this Oxford side would have walked just five seasons ago will now (in my opinion) see them finish mid-table.

But spare a thought for sides like Wigan, whose downfall is through no fault of what has happened on the pitch. The pitch is the only place where the fate of football clubs should be decided, and it’s a disgrace what has happened to that fantastic club residing in a town I’m not that fond of.

Once again, the climb begins, but whose ladder is the sturdiest?

Whose stairway to heaven is paved with gold?

Keep it streets ahead,

C.L.R.

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