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Running the Rule Over Lincoln’s New League One Opponents for 2024/25

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Another scintillating football season draws to a close.

There’s been heartbreak and dreams coming true. Disaster and triumph. Close shaves and ‘maybe next year’s’… fans of the beautiful game wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lincoln City may reflect on 2023/24 as the one that got away, to some extent, but Michael Skubala and his players head into next season full of optimism, with momentum, positivity and new owners who seem willing to invest time and resources in the club.

The Imps will be facing seven new opponents in League One in 2024/25 as they bid for promotion, so who are they and what will they bring to the table?

Coming Down

League One has been an excellent springboard in recent years, with Ipswich Town looking to reach the Premier League this season after just one term in the third tier.

It was as recently as 2018/19 that Luton Town were in League One, so while the Premier League 2023/24 betting has been against them from the outset, the Hatters continue to battle on.

Indeed, with just a couple of games left to be played, Luton are still in with a chance of survival – even if the Premier League relegation odds mark them down as a 1/5 favourite behind Nottingham Forest (8/5).

So opportunity knocks in League One – in 2024/25, there will be 24 teams hoping to take their chance to progress.

Typically, the three teams that are relegated from the Championship are amongst the favourites for immediate promotion back to the second tier, although that might not be the case next season.

Rotherham United were the first team to face relegation from the Championship in 2023/24. The Millers pulled off a minor miracle in surviving the drop last season, but their fate was sealed rather earlier this term – winning just two of their opening 23 games.

The Yorkshire outfit punch above their weight at Championship level in terms of budget and player quality, but they will need to regroup once again in League One – Steve Evans, who led Rotherham to two promotions in his first stint as manager of the club, is a savvy recent appointment that will at least get the fans on board.

It will take a final day miracle for Huddersfield Town to avoid relegation from the Championship: they need to win, hope Plymouth Argyle lose and that there’s a whopping 15-goal turnaround in the current goal differences of the two teams.

So the Terriers are doomed, let’s face it, and it’s a mighty way to fall for a side that was still in the Premier League as recently as 2019 – and who reached the Championship play-offs in 2021/22.

The curveball could well be their head coach Andre Breitenreiter, a name unfamiliar to most football fans in the UK. However, the German has a promotion on his CV with Paderborn and won the Swiss Super League with FC Zurich as recently as 2022, so at least Huddersfield will have a manager used to success at the helm.

Coming Up

Is there a gulf in class between Leagues One and Two? Maybe when considering the size of some of the clubs involved, but in 2023/24 three of the four teams promoted from League Two – Stevenage, Leyton Orient and Northampton – not only survived but thrived in the third tier.

So there’s a sense that the momentum of a promotion can propel the likes of Stockport County and Wrexham to more success in League One. Their ascent through the football pyramid has been rapid – and, in Wrexham’s case, the journey well documented – so it will be fascinating to see how they fare another rung up the ladder.

Mansfield Town, meanwhile, will be financially well-supported by owner John Radford, with the final place in League One in 2024/25 taken by the side that makes it through the dreaded play-offs: one of MK Dons, Crewe, Doncaster or Crawley claiming the spoils.

So it will be another fascinating campaign in the third tier of English football. Will Lincoln be one of the three teams that enjoys promotion at the end of the season?

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