How the Bookies See it:
- Winner: Sheffield United 6/1, Charlton 11/1, Millwall 11/1, Bradford 14/1 - Coral
- Promotion: Sheffield United 2/1, Charlton 5/2, Millwall 7/2, MK Dons 4/1 - Bet365
- Relegation: Oldham 7/4, Port Vale 7/4, Bury 5/2, Chesterfield 5/2 - Betfred
- AFC Wimbledon are one of the division’s new boys and are expected to struggle to make the step up. Defender Kelle Roos has returned to parent club Derby County, leaving them light at the back, but the club is known for its fighting spirit and could just stay up on that alone.
- Bolton Wanderers limped out of the Championship after a season dominated by off-the-field financial woes. New boss Phil Parkinson is a key asset, but after last year’s dismal display, in which they won just five times, they may need a season to consolidate before pushing for promotion.
- Bradford City suffered heartache in the play-offs last term and were rocked by the departure of manager Phil Parkinson to Bolton. New gaffer Stuart McCall is a Bantams legend though and, with a strong squad and large fanbase, they should be nailed on for a top-six finish again.
- Bristol Rovers ousted Accrington from the League Two promotion places last season on goal difference following a run of seven games without defeat. This momentum, coupled with Matty Taylor’s goalscoring prowess, could see them pushing for a second consecutive promotion.
- Bury are another side beset by financial problems and they will miss 19-goal man Leon Clarke, who has headed off to Sheffield United. Fans will also hope boss David Flitcroft can finally settle on a regular keeper this term, otherwise they could really struggle.
- Charlton Athletic want to return to the Championship at the first time of asking, but that will depend on how quickly their experienced manager Russell Slade can gel his brand-new squad. Winger Ricky Holmes and strikers Nicky Ajose and Lee Novak are quality signings, making the Addicks ones to watch.
- Chesterfield will be under the spotlight after signing controversial striker Ched Evans in the close season. The club has fallen out with local media, fans are underwhelmed by the other summer transfers and a potential hangover from last year’s dismal showing means they could be in real danger this season.
- Coventry City fans were baffled by boss Tony Mowbray’s decision to sell inspirational midfielder Romain Vincelot, but he has hinted the move could lead the way for an exciting signing heading to the Ricoh Arena before the window shuts. With a talented team and a savvy boss they should make the top six.
- Fleetwood Town flirted with the drop last year and, following plenty of ins and outs this summer, fans may just be happy to secure a place in the division for another season. They have enjoyed a rapid rise through the leagues, but many bettors will have the Cod Army down as relegation fodder this term.
- Gillingham enjoyed a decent first half of last season, but seemed to bottle it at the business end, failing to win any of their last eight games. New signing Billy Knott has great pedigree and former England left back Paul Konchesky will steady the ship at the back, potentially helping them towards the play offs.
- MK Dons are ramping up the transfer activity late in the day, although former Arsenal midfielder Chuks Aneke will not be fit to start the season. With players arriving on the eve of the season, it may take time for the team to get going and a mid-table finish seems fair for the relegated Dons.
- Millwall missed out on promotion in the playoff final at Wembley in May, but they should be able to shake off the disappointment and push for promotion. The Lions boast a talented squad, including forward Lee Gregory who is also a good tip for League One top goalscorer.
- Northampton Town swept all before them in League Two last year, but will have to do without stars Nicky Adams and Ricky Holmes, who have left for pastures new. Mid-table seems a fair prediction, but they were so good last year that they might just sneak a playoff spot.
- Oldham Athletic are another side who have seen a huge churn of playing staff over the break. Billy McKay, on loan from Wigan, has scored goals in Scotland in the past, although he wasn’t exactly prolific at Northampton, despite netting against Liverpool at Anfield. The Latics could be in for a relegation battle.
- Oxford United finished second in League Two last year and boast an extremely competent manager in Michael Appleton. Signing 17-year-old striker Tyler Roberts on loan from West Brom could be a risk in the physical world of League One, but he comes highly-rated and could help the Us towards a mid-table finish.
- Peterborough United have lost winger Jon Taylor and midfielder Harry Beautyman this summer, although the latter was not thought to be in Grant McCann’s plans. If notoriously impatient chairman Darragh MacAnthony keeps faith with McCann, the Posh could challenge for the top six.
- Port Vale are one of the most difficult League One teams to predict this year, given the influx of 13 new names, including a host of untested foreign players, under new manager Bruno Ribeiro. The bookies predict it will not end well for the Potteries-based club.
- Rochdale enter their third successive season in League One, with only minor tinkering to their playing squad performed over the break. They probably don’t have enough in the tank to worry the top six, but manager Keith Hill will get the best out of his squad and a top-ten finish seems likely.
- Scunthorpe United ended last season with a run of six wins under new manager Graham Alexander. With a strong mix of youth and experience, as well as the goals of Paddy Madden, Iron fans will expect at least a playoff place. However, the Irishman will miss the start of the season through injury, which might affect their first few games.
- Sheffield United are constantly tipped for promotion, yet have been stuck in the third tier since 2011. Expectation from the Bramhall Lane faithful is once again sky-high as the Blades start the season with four top-quality strikers at their disposal. They should make the automatic spots, but they may have to make do with the lottery of the playoffs.
- Shrewsbury Town scraped survival last time, but some smart signings, such as Jim O’Brien from Coventry and Louis Dodds from Port Vale, mean they should push on this term. If they can turn around their home form, they should stay up with ease.
- Southend United have a big character in manager Phil Brown, but didn't really spark on the pitch last season. Ireland striker Simon Cox will be an asset if he can rediscover his shooting boots, but mid-table seems to beckon once again for the Shrimpers.
- Swindon Town struggled in the final months of last season and, after losing striker Nicky Ajose, Luke Williams’ men might once again find themselves staring the relegation zone in the eye. Williams has admitted he needs to strengthen, but has also says he will not rush into signing players. Worrying stuff for Robins fans at this late stage.
- Walsall were pipped for automatic promotion by Burton last year and, following a revolving-door recruitment policy in the close season, the Saddlers are an unknown quantity this time around. However, Erhun Oztumer is a fantastic signing and should help them towards the play offs.
Much of the money from those who do not study League One closely will go on Sheffield United for promotion, as they possess the best-known brand in the division. However, the Blades have struggled to return to the Championship, even with a host of decent managers. It is too close to nail on one team to be champions, but Millwall’s 7/2 from Bet365 to be promoted is a good bet, thanks to their formidable strike force. Charlton will do well and Bradford and Scunthorpe, at 4/1 and 6/1 respectively, are dark horses who would bring a neat return if they bag one of the three promotion berths.
At the other end of the table, Fleetwood’s 9/2 for relegation from William Hill is a decent bet and Coral’s 11/4 on Swindon could pay out if they don’t recruit soon. There is no obvious whipping boy this year, but Chesterfield, Port Vale and Oldham fans should be concerned.
Billy Sharp has scored bucketloads at this level and the Sheffield United man is 7/1 at Bet365 to be top scorer come May. However, he has strong competition for his place in the United team and may be used in rotation. If so, that would leave the door open for prolific Lee Gregory of Millwall, at 10/1 with Coral, to take the honour.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip - Lee Gregory of Millwall to be top goalscorer at 10/1 with Coral