To keep up to date with the latest transfers of the Football Clubs in Part One, click HERE.

Part One – Page One: Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, Burton Albion and Charlton Athletic.

Part One – Page Two: Crewe Alexandra, Doncaster Rovers, Fleetwood Town, Gillingham, Hull City and Ipswich Town.

Part Two – Page OneLincoln City, Milton Keynes Dons, Northampton Town, Oxford United, Peterborough United and Plymouth Argyle.

Part Two – Page TwoPortsmouth, Rochdale, Shrewsbury, Sunderland, Swindon Town and Wigan Athletic.

The article has been published with two pages (6 clubs on each page). To get to the second page, press “Click here for the next six clubs!” at the bottom right of the page!

INTRODUCTION

The information in this preview is complete to 5pm on 9 September 2020.

Managerial data is as accurate as I can make it: it is almost impossible to identify the exact dates managers joined or left minor non-league clubs 25 years ago, and detailed statistical information for minor leagues is not readily available. Online statistics databases have not been used due to the errors they can contain. As the figures are self-compiled, any errors therefore are my fault entirely. Firstly, sincere apologies to the subjects; secondly, any errors should be minor and not affect the overall impression; thirdly, it will be more accurate than Wikipedia.

An average points per game figure is given for each manager. In order to translate that into something more tangible, the table below shows how many points that figure equates to over the course of a 46-game season. Although other factors obviously come into play, it gives an indication of how likely that manager is to be involved in a relegation struggle (under 1.20 PPG), a play-off challenge (above 1.50 PPG needed) or an automatic promotion challenge (above 1.70 PPG needed).

As for the player sections, permanent transfers and longer-term loans in are included; all shorter-term loans and season-long loans out are not included. Players given their first professional contracts from academy status are not included as new signings. Remember that the transfer window does not close until 16 October, long after the season has begun: later signings may be significant.

Under normal circumstances, we would only note the results of standard 90-minute pre-season games. However, many games have not followed that format this summer for obvious reasons; therefore, we have listed every pre-season result regardless of format. Normal service will be resumed next year.

There is usually a caveat with these Season Previews, and this year it is a significant one. Last season was like no other, creating a set of circumstances that have generated an immeasurable number of variables. The advent of the salary cap and its transitional rules suggests that almost anything could happen once the season gets under way. For this reason, I have included a lot of financial information on each club in an attempt to clarify who the winners and losers may be.

Finally, bookmakers’ odds are for promotion.

Scotimp, 9/9/2020

ACCRINGTON STANLEY

Last season: 17th
P35 W10 D10 L15 F47 A53 Pts40
Average attendance: 2,862 (lowest in League One)

Chairman/owner: Andy Holt, 55 (appointed October 2015)

Manager: John Coleman, 57 (appointed September 2014)

John Coleman’s managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (13):

Goalkeepers (1):
Dimitar Evtimov, 26 (CSKA Sofia – Bulgaria)

Defenders (4):
Phil Edwards, 34
Zaine Francis-Angol, 27 (Boreham Wood)
Callum Johnson, 23 (Portsmouth)
Matty Williams, 20

Midfielders (5):
Wilson Carvalho, 27 (Macclesfield Town)
Jordan Clark, 26 (Luton Town)
Érico de Sousa, 25
Lewis Doyle, 20 (Atherton Collieries)
Lewis Gilboy, 20 (AFC Bury)

Forwards (3):
Offrande Zanzala, 23 (Crewe Alexandra)
Alex O’Neill, 20
Andrew Scott, 20 (Larne)

Players in (8):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (2):
Stephen Sama, 27 (Heracles Almelo – Netherlands)
Cameron Burgess, 24 (Scunthorpe United)

Midfielders (4):
Matt Butcher, 23 (AFC Bournemouth)
Mo Sangare, 21 (Newcastle United – season loan)
Tom Scully, 20 (Norwich City)
Tariq Uwakwe, 20 (Chelsea – season loan)

Forwards (2):
Tom Allan, 20 (Newcastle United – season loan)
Ryan Cassidy, 19 (Watford – season loan)

Average age of players out: 24
Average age of players in: 22

Number of players in squad: 27

Player of the Season 2019-20: not awarded

One to watch: Sean McConville, 31 (winger)

Season ticket sales: 770 (at 3/9/2020)

Ground capacity: 5,450

Visiting supporter capacity: 2,300 (1,800 standing, 500 seated)

Pre-season:
P5 W1 D1 L3 F7 A11

15/8 Oldham Athletic A 3-3 Pritchard, Cassidy, OG
18/8 Southport A 3-4 Allan, Cassidy, Perritt
22/8 Bolton Wanderers N 0-3 (at Bamber Bridge)
27/8 Blackburn Rovers U23 A 0-1
29/8 Salford City A 1-0 Cassidy (pen)

Commentary:

“My thoughts for this year, we got promoted two years ago winning League Two quite comfortably and the three teams who went up with us [Luton, Wycombe and Coventry], who we finished above, are all in the Championship so why can’t we aim for that? I seriously believe that. Why can’t it be us?” – Accrington manager John Coleman

Accrington had their largest ever squad last season of around thirty players, supplemented by a significant quota of loanees. That is a very high number for a small club at any time, and manager John Coleman confirms that this season will be very different. Despite the obvious challenges, he is confident that he can build a side capable of challenging for promotion this season. That may cause amusement in some parts of League One, but Coleman says he has been inspired by Wycombe’s success through the play-offs and his record is hard to dispute. He has four promotions to date from his nineteen seasons at Accrington – all as champions – but a fifth would be truly exceptional.

Summer business followed its usual pattern of losing a key player or two and an influx of Premier League loans. The loss of winger Jordan Clark to Luton was far from ideal, and he will be difficult to replace. The pick of the loans appears to be Ryan Cassidy from Watford, who is highly-rated by his own club and scored regularly in pre-season. Tariq Uwakwe hit a hat-trick on his debut in the 7-0 win over Leeds U21 in the EFL Trophy, with Cassidy adding two more. Tom Allan captained the Newcastle U23 side last season and scored a creditable 17 goals. German defender Stephen Sama from Dutch club Heracles has a good background, having played for the Manchester United academy. A poor set of pre-season results will have done little for confidence, although the win over Leeds may have resolved that. Accrington have a young squad that became even younger during the summer, and it may take some time for the renewed squad to gel.

John Coleman is set to pass 1,000 league games this season as a manager. Although the majority came outside of the Football League, it gives him great experience of the game which is almost unparalleled in League One. The bookmakers are forecasting relegation again despite Coleman’s promotion dream, but there are several clubs in League One with bigger problems to face than well-run Accrington.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 16/1

Prediction: Another bottom eight finish, but Coleman is a clever manager.


AFC WIMBLEDON

Last season: 20th
P35 W8 D11 L16 F39 A52 Pts35
Average attendance: 4,383

Chairman: None
CEO: Joe Palmer, 44 (appointed April 2019)

Manager: Glyn Hodges, 57 (appointed September 2019)

Glyn Hodges’ managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (11):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (3):
Rod McDonald, 28 (Carlisle United)
Kyron Stabana, 22
Reuben Collins, 19

Midfielders (6):
Anthony Wordsworth, 31
Scott Wagstaff, 30 (Forest Green Rovers)
Dylan Connolly, 25 (St Mirren)
Mitch Pinnock, 25 (Kilmarnock)
Ossama Ashley, 20 (West Ham United)
Finlay Macnab, 19

Forwards (2):
Kwesi Appiah, 30
Tommy Wood, 21

Players in (7):

Goalkeepers (1):
Connal Trueman, 24 (Birmingham City – season loan)

Defenders (1):
Cheye Alexander, 25 (Barnet)

Midfielders (3):
Alex Woodyard, 27 (Peterborough United)
Ethan Chislett, 22 (Aldershot Town)
Jaako Oksanen, 19 (Brentford – season loan)

Forwards (2):
Ollie Palmer, 28 (Crawley Town)
Ryan Longman, 19 (Brighton & Hove Albion – season loan)

Average age of players out: 24
Average age of players in: 23

Number of players in squad: 27

Player of the Season 2019-20: Terell Thomas, 24 (centre-half)

One to watch: Joe Pigott, 26 (striker)

Season ticket sales: not known

Ground capacity: 18,439 (Loftus Road), 9,000 (Plough Lane)

Visiting supporter capacity: Loftus Road 1,800 – can be increased to 2,500 (all seated)

Pre-season:
P5 W4 D0 L1 F13 A4
8/8 Corinthian Casuals A 5-0 Chiabi 3, Guinness-Walker, Thomas
11/8 Leatherhead A 2-1 Woodyard, Assal
15/8 Tonbridge Angels A 3-0  Chislett, Pigott, Chiabi
19/8 Metropolitan Police A 3-0 Hartigan, Fisher, Guinness-Walker
22/8 Queens Park Rangers A 0-3

Commentary:

The headline for AFC Wimbledon is the imminent completion of their new £30 million stadium on Plough Lane, although paying for its construction has been far from plain sailing. A shortfall of £11 million has been partially addressed by a bond issue, which has raised £5.5 million to date, and a bridging loan of £4 million. Exactly how the bond will be financed on a long-term basis is another question, and the loan has to be repaid within 18 months. With such a degree of debt-gearing and the effects of the coronavirus suspension, it may be some time before AFCW can sail into clearer financial waters.

Success on the pitch and the repayment of those debts will depend on how many of their 9,000 new seats the club can fill, and for how long. Various plans have been proposed to attract supporters to the new venue and to tie them in for the long term. A complex debenture scheme has been launched: operating over a ten-year period, it offers a 50% discount on the price of a 2020-21 season ticket price, a 5% discount thereafter, and eleven years for the price of ten in exchange for a minimum fee of £45 per month. A maximum of 50-60% of total capacity will be available for debenture purchases when the stadium opens in late October. A more immediate aim was to raise £1 million to see them through the coronavirus suspension, supplemented by the sale of non-refundable season tickets.

The 2019-20 season was far from spectacular for the Dons. There was upheaval in September when manager Wally Downes was charged with gambling irregularities and suspended by the club. After being found guilty in October, Downes was sacked and replaced by his assistant Glyn Hodges. Whether Downes would have kept his job for much longer anyway was a moot point: when he was suspended from his job on 25 September, AFCW were second from bottom of League One without a win from their first ten games. Hodges led the side to six wins from his first eleven games to lift them out of the bottom three, although only two more games were won by the time football ceased in early March. Dons finished the curtailed season just three points above the drop zone, and may be grateful for Bury’s demise and the shambles at Bolton for keeping them in League One.

On the playing side, what does the 2020-21 season hold for AFCW in their new home? Success on the pitch is vital if those debts are to be repaid, but the immediate outlook is not promising. The size of the squad has been reduced, and the pick of the signings appears to be defensive midfielder Alex Woodyard from Peterborough. Striker Ollie Palmer scored 30 goals in two seasons at Crawley, but he has never kicked a ball in League One. Pre-season offered few clues to the side’s ability, with four straightforward games against junior non-league opposition and the other against QPR.

Manager Glyn Hodges believes AFCW can do better this season, which seems a tad optimistic when the financial pressures he is operating under are considered. However, the sense of achievement when they step into that new stadium should not be underestimated, and may give the side the impetus needed to stay in League One.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 40/1

Prediction: Unsuccessful relegation battle, but that new stadium may raise their game.


BLACKPOOL

Last season: 13th
P35 W11 D12 L12 F44 A43 Pts45
Average attendance: 8,770

Chairman/owner: Simon Sadler, 50 (appointed June 2019)

Manager: Neil Critchley, 41 (appointed March 2020)

Neil Critchley’s managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (12):

Goalkeepers (3):
Mark Howard, 33
Chris Mafoumbi, 26
Myles Boney, 22 (South Shields)

Defenders (2):
Ryan Edwards, 26 (Dundee United)
Sean Graham, 19

Midfielders (3):
Jay Spearing, 31 (Tranmere Rovers)
Sean Scannell, 29 (Grimsby Town)
Yusifu Ceesay, 25 (Altrincham)

Forwards (4):
Nathan Delfouneso, 29 (Bolton Wanderers)
Armand Gnanduillet, 28 (Altay SK – Turkey)
Owen Watkinson, 19
Tony Weston, 16 (Glasgow Rangers)

Players in (11):

Goalkeepers (1):
Alex Fojtíček, 20 (Manchester United)

Defenders (1):
Marvin Ekpiteta, 25 (Leyton Orient)

Midfielders (6):
CJ Hamilton, 25 (Mansfield Town)
Jordan (MJ) Williams, 24 (Rochdale)
Ethan Robson, 23 (Sunderland)
Oliver Sarkic, 23 (Burton Albion)
Demetri Mitchell, 23 (Manchester United)
Daniel Kemp, 21 (West Ham United – season loan)

Forwards (3):
Keshi Anderson, 25 (Swindon Town)
Jerry Yates, 23 (Rotherham United)
Bez Lubala, 23 (Crawley Town)

Average age of players out: 25
Average age of players in: 23

Number of players in squad: 25

Player of the Season 2019-20: Liam Feeney, 33 (winger)

One to watch: Sully Kaikai, 25 (winger)

Season ticket sales: 3,020 (at 18/8/2020 – limited to 4,000)

Ground capacity: 16,750

Visiting supporter capacity: 2,500 (all seated)

Pre-season:
P6 W3 D1 L2 F14 A15
8/8 Southport A 4-0 Ward, Kaikai, Anderson, Yates
15/8 Port Vale A 2-1 Kaikai, Anderson
18/8 BARROW H 2-1 Thorniley, Virtue
22/8 EVERTON H 3-3 Hamilton, Kaikai, Ward
25/8 BLACKBURN ROVERS H 1-3 Virtue
5/9 Liverpool A 2-7 Hamilton, Yates (pen)

Commentary:

“We’ve been able to capture some fantastic players and I couldn’t be more thankful to Simon Sadler and the board for the support they’ve given me and my staff. I think we’re bringing in the right players, players who are on the up and want to be here. You look at the club and where we are at the moment, and there is a real feel-good factor around the place.” – Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley

When Hong Kong businessman and Blackpool native Simon Sadler acquired the club in June 2019, there was light at the end of a very long tunnel at Bloomfield Road. The Oyston era was finally over, and optimism abounded for a promotion challenge in 2019-20. Unfortunately for the Tangerines, the new stability proved an illusion as Blackpool worked their way through four managers during the course of the season. Terry McPhillips quit before the first ball was kicked, and former club hero Simon Grayson was relieved of his duties in February with Blackpool in fifteenth place. David Dunn looked after first-team affairs until Neil Critchley was appointed at the start of March. The natural result was a finish in the bottom half, and more will be expected this season after significant investment in the squad.

Planning for the new season did not get off to the best of starts when captain Jay Spearing and top scorer Armand Gnanduillet rejected contract offers. However, summer signings were impressive, including a substantial six-figure fee for in-demand striker Jerry Yates. Yates and fellow new signing Keshi Anderson scored 19 goals between them for League Two champions Swindon last season. More cash was splashed on winger CJ Hamilton from Mansfield, rumoured to be around £200,000, and the average age has been reduced with the addition of several players from Premier League 2. That was to be expected, given manager Critchley’s background with the U23s. There was a slightly puzzling pre-season game away to Liverpool which Blackpool lost 7-2. An interesting exercise that may have generated income, but will do nothing to build confidence.

New head coach Neil Critchley is unusual in today’s game, having made only one appearance in the Football League as a player. Nonetheless, he is one of only sixteen coaches to achieve the FA’s now discontinued Elite Coaches Award, the equivalent of the UEFA Pro Licence. Whether that translates to success on the pitch at senior level remains to be seen. Summer signings suggest that Blackpool could mount a serious promotion challenge, subject to Critchley making that step up to senior football.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 5/1

Prediction: Promotion challenge if Neil Critchley makes the transition from the U23s


BRISTOL ROVERS

Last season: 14th
P35 W12 D9 L14 F38 A49 Pts45
Average attendance: 7,397

Chairman: None

CEO: Martyn Starnes, 65 (appointed July 2018)

Manager: Ben Garner, 40 (appointed December 2019)

Ben Garner’s managerial record:

League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (15):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (5):
Tony Craig, 35 (Crawley Town)
Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, 24
Rollin Menayese, 22 (Mansfield Town)
Ben Morgan, 21
Josh Bailey, 19

Midfielders (6):
Liam Sercombe, 30 (Cheltenham Town)
Ollie Clarke, 28 (Mansfield Town)
Sam Matthews, 23 (Crawley Town)
Luke Russe, 21 (Chippenham Town)
Theo Widdrington, 21 (Lewes)
Lewis Clutton, 19 (Penybont)

Forwards (4):
Tom Nichols, 27 (Crawley Town)
Gavin Reilly, 27 (Carlisle United)
Jonson Clarke-Harris, 26 (Peterborough United)
Rhys Kavanagh, 21

Players in (8):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (4):
Max Ehmer, 28 (Gillingham)
Jack Baldwin, 27 (Sunderland)
David Tutonda, 24 (Barnet)
Josh Grant, 21 (Chelsea)

Midfielders (3):
Sam Nicholson, 25 (Colorado Rapids – USA)
Zain Westbrooke, 23 (Coventry City)
Jayden Mitchell-Lawson, 20 (Derby County – season loan)

Forwards (1):
Jonah Ayunga, 23 (Havant & Waterlooville)

Average age of players out: 24
Average age of players in: 23

Number of players in squad: 32

Player of the Season 2019-20: not awarded

One to watch: Zain Westbrooke, 23 (central midfield)

Season ticket sales: 1,500 (at 7/7/2020)

Ground capacity: 12,300

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,350 (1,100 standing, 250 seated)

Pre-season:
P6 W3 D1 L2 F13 A8
8/8 Bristol Manor Farm A 4-0 Walker 2, Clarke-Harris, Tomlinson
15/8 EXETER CITY H 2-1 Mitchell-Lawson, Hargreaves
21/8 Newport County A 1-1 Hare
22/8 Forest Green Rovers A 3-4 Clarke-Harris 2, Westbrooke
25/8 Cheltenham Town A 2-0 Trialist, Leahy (pen)
28/8 CARDIFF CITY H 1-2 Tomlinson

Commentary:

“This pandemic has brought into focus the need for everyone within the game to look at the finances and how we make ourselves sustainable. This is a journey that we started at the club a year ago and all costs continue to be reviewed and all incomes need to be maximised. Under Ben Garner’s stewardship, we want to develop young players, bring them into the first team and give them their opportunity within the game. We hope that we can play an exciting and attractive brand of football whilst doing this.” – Bristol Rovers owner Wael Al-Qadi

Last season proved another disappointment for Bristol Rovers after a catalogue of disruption. Chairman Steve Hamer left the club abruptly in November, followed by a change of manager in December from Mansfield-bound Graham Coughlan to rookie Ben Garner. Unfortunately, Garner was almost immediately forced to take leave of absence from the club due to ill-health in his family. These problems effectively derailed what promised to be a great season, with Rovers sitting in fourth place in December. However, the side took just 11 points from the final 16 games to finish in the bottom half for the third successive season. With a challenging run-in, there appeared to be little prospect of an improvement when the season was eventually ended.

Things are looking far more promising at the Memorial Stadium after a busy summer. Off the field, club president Wael Al-Qadi took full control in June, leaving Rovers substantively debt-free after years of astounding losses: £9.7 million in the last four years alone. The Jordanian has bought a controlling stake in the League One side’s holding company Dwane Sports by buying out members of his own family and capitalising £34.9m worth of loans. A massive £18.4m was owed by the club to Dwane Sports itself. The debt will be capitalised through a share issue, although some supporters are disappointed that this action will dilute the shareholding of the Supporters’ Club. Al-Qadi has also written off £2.1m of interest on the loans, meaning Rovers’ only debts are ordinary trade creditors and leasing agreements. Work is under way on their new training base at Almondsbury, due to be opened later in 2020, although talk of a new stadium remains inconclusive.

On the playing side, there was a significant turnover during the summer with 15 leaving. Rovers were very active during the early stages of pre-season with six players signed by the start of August. Zain Westbrooke from champions Coventry is the pick of the bunch, a surprising move for a player promoted to the Championship, and he should plug the midfield gap left by the departure of Ollie Clarke to Mansfield. There should be few problems at the back with the arrival of Jack Baldwin from Sunderland and Gillingham central defender Max Ehmer, who has been named captain. The main question is who will score the goals. Top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris was sold to Peterborough for a rumoured £1m fee, and new signing Jonah Ayunga has never played in the Football League before. Expect there to be at least one addition up front before the transfer window closes.

This could prove an interesting season for Rovers. Ben Garner starts his first full season in management, and supporters were critical of his tactical approach as last season fizzled out. The retention of Jonson Clarke-Harris could have made them serious contenders at the top, and that will only happen if they can find a viable replacement. The club is far more stable now than for a number of years, and the platform is in place for a return to the second tier they have not graced since 1993.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 13/2

Prediction: Mid-table, with a play-off push if Clarke-Harris is replaced.


BURTON ALBION

Last season: 12th
P35 W12 D12 L11 F50 A50 Pts48
Average attendance: 2,986

Chairman/owner: Ben Robinson MBE, 74 (appointed June 1995)

Manager: Jake Buxton, 35 (appointed May 2020)

Jake Buxton’s managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (7):

Goalkeepers (2):
Stephen Bywater, 39 (retired)
Teddy Sharman-Lowe, 17 (Chelsea)

Defenders (0):

Midfielders (4):
Scott Fraser, 25 (Milton Keynes Dons)
Oliver Sarkic, 23 (Blackpool)
Joe Sbarra, 21 (Solihull Moors)
Ethan Vale, 19 (Newcastle Town)

Forwards (1):
Kwame Thomas, 24 (Wrexham)

Players in (7):

Goalkeepers (1):
Teddy Sharman-Lowe, 17 (Chelsea – season loan)

Defenders (2):
Michael Bostwick, 32 (Lincoln City)
Neal Eardley, 31 (Lincoln City)

Midfielders (1):
Steven Lawless, 29 (Livingston)

Forwards (3):
Luke Varney, 37 (Cheltenham Town)
Kane Hemmings, 28 (Dundee)
Charles Vernam, 23 (Grimsby Town)

Average age of players out: 24
Average age of players in: 28

Number of players in squad: 24

Player of the Season 2019-20: not awarded

One to watch: Kane Hemmings, 28 (centre-forward)

Season ticket sales: not disclosed

Ground capacity: 6,912

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,800 (1,400 standing, 400 seated)

Pre-season:
P6 W2 D2 L2 F8 A8
?/? MANSFIELD TOWN H 2-1 Hemmings, Akins
?/? NOTTINGHAM FOREST U23 H 1-1 Fox
?/? LEICESTER CITY U23 H 1-2 Hemmings
22/8 Stoke City A 1-0 Hemmings
25/8 COVENTRY CITY H 2-3 Hemmings 2
29/8 Walsall A 1-1 Brayford

Commentary:

“I’ll be surprised if it [salary caps] doesn’t go through. I think there will be enough clubs who see the importance of reining in overspending. The Covid crisis and the financial pressures it’s created for clubs brings that more into focus. It’s going to make clubs think more about how they run their business.” – Burton chairman Ben Robinson

As one of the poorest supported clubs in the EFL, it is no surprise that Burton Albion’s long-serving chairman Ben Robinson is in support of salary caps. At the start of July, Albion announced a record loss of £1.2 million for the year ending 30 June 2019, a large sum for such a small club. That was prior to the corona shutdown, which can only have worsened Burton’s financial plight. Despite chairman Robinson putting £400,000 of his own money into the club to keep it going, it was still necessary to part company with club legend Nigel Clough and his management team as an economy measure. Clough’s place has been taken by captain Jake Buxton, who intends to continue as a player. Burton were also one of a small number of clubs not to offer refunds on unused season tickets, all of which suggests a prudent approach to the coming season at the Pirelli Stadium.

Burton’s mid-table finish last season ensured further stability after relegation in 2018, and the side even sat in the top six in January. There were good runs in the two main cups including a 2-0 League Cup win over Premier League Bournemouth before losing to neighbours Leicester.

Summer activity saw a number of existing contracts reportedly renegotiated on smaller wages and on a one-year term, and it was not surprising to see new signings made on the same basis. With the exception of strikers Charles Vernam and Kane Hemmings, all new arrivals have signed up for a year only. Those one-year deals include former Lincoln defenders Neal Eardley and Michael Bostwick, both well into their thirties now. Age has been a common theme for Burton, with five of their seven signings having an average age of 31. They are the only club in League One to have increased their average age – it will be interesting to see whether that comes back to bite them as the intensity of the coming season makes its mark. Striker Kane Hemmings is the standout signing, scoring five in pre-season alone. Burton are his eighth club in eight seasons, and he will be keen to find a more permanent home. The loss of midfielder Oliver Sarkic to Blackpool was the only departure of note, and the squad has a reasonably stable look to it.

It will be interesting to see how Burton get on without the talismanic Clough, whose association with the club began in the Southern League in 1998. The financial limitations are obvious, and they have a rookie manager at the helm. With an average home support of little over 2,000, Burton have punched above their weight for a long time. The question is, can they continue to do so?

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 10/1

Prediction: Lower mid-table, they should have the players to avoid any problems.


CHARLTON ATHLETIC

Last season: 22nd in the Championship (relegated)
P46 W12 D12 L22 F50 A65 Pts48
Average attendance: 18,128

Chairman/owner: possibly Paul Elliott, 50 (appointed June 2020)

Manager: Lee Bowyer, 43 (appointed March 2018 as caretaker, September 2018 permanently)

Lee Bowyer’s managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (13):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (7):
Chris Solly, 29
Naby Sarr, 27
Tom Lockyer, 25 (Luton Town)
Lewis Page, 24 (Exeter City)
Kenneth Yao, 21
Toby Stevenson, 20
Sam Keefe, 19

Midfielders (2):
Taylor Maloney, 21
Abraham Odoh, 20

Forwards (4):
Tomer Hemed, 33
Lyle Taylor, 30 (Nottingham Forest)
Wilberforce Ocran, 20
Kareem Isiaka, 18

Players in (3):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (0):

Midfielders (2):
Alex Gilbey, 25 (Milton Keynes Dons)
Dylan Levitt, 19 (Manchester United – season loan)

Forwards (1):
Conor Washington, 28 (Heart Of Midlothian)

Average age of players out: 23
Average age of players in: 24

Number of players in squad: 23

Player of the Season 2019-20: Dillon Phillips, 25 (goalkeeper)

One to watch: Macauley Bonne, 24 (centre-forward)

Season ticket sales: 1,400 (at 19/8/2020)

Ground capacity: 27,111

Visiting supporter capacity: 3,000 (all seated)

Pre-season:
P3 W0 D1 L2 F3 A7
22/8 Birmingham City A 1-1 Doughty
25/8 SOUTHEND UNITED H 2-3 Davison (pen), Lapslie
29/8 Crystal Palace A 0-3

Commentary:

“Since coming back from lockdown we’ve been the better side in most of the games and that’s what cost us. We should have still been safe with the players we’ve got, but it didn’t happen.” – Charlton manager Lee Bowyer

And so Charlton Athletic return to League One after just one season in the Championship. Relegation came as a huge disappointment, especially considering the way the play-off winners started the season. Four wins and two draws from their opening six games left them in second place, and they remained in the top six until the middle of October. A run of one win from seventeen games dropped them into the bottom half, but as manager Lee Bowyer says, they should still have had enough points on the board to stay up comfortably. Unfortunately, the decline continued, and a run of three points from their final seven games saw them relegated on the final day. It was certainly no way in which to celebrate the centenary of The Valley.

There are a number of reasons why Charlton were relegated. Problems in the boardroom have become a familiar feature in recent years, and 2019-20 proved disastrously similar. Following years of strained relationships between the club and its supporters, vilified owner Roland Duchâtelet sold the club to East Street Investments in January. It looked like a new dawn for Charlton, but it proved a false dawn. The new joint owners Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall immediately fell out over the club’s investment strategy, sparking a transfer embargo and an EFL investigation when proof of funding was not forthcoming. In June they sold East Street Investments to Manchester-based property magnate Paul Elliott, who also ran into problems with the EFL for the same reason. The presence of lawyer Paul Farnell as part of Elliott’s consortium also rang alarm bells: he was Bury’s lawyer when Steve Dale purchased the ailing club for £1. The takeover was formally rejected by the EFL on 7 August due to three unnamed persons being subject to a disqualifying condition. Two of the ‘unnamed’ persons resigned from the board, and Farnell was dismissed as the club’s lawyer, leading to the transfer embargo being partially eased following a meeting with the EFL.

The middle of August saw Colorado-based businessman Thomas Sandgaard arrive as the latest prospective owner, although deciding exactly who owns what is probably the biggest challenge. Danish-born Sandgaard admits that he also considered acquiring fellow basket case Wigan Athletic, which does little for his credibility with supporters. It is probably best not to mention his previous interest in QPR, Sunderland and Swansea. A delegation of fans responded by occupying the boardroom as a protest against East Street Investments and the EFL’s ownership rules. A court ruling at the start of September cleared the way for the sale of the club, so watch this space with interest.

Meanwhile, back on the pitch: another possible reason for relegation was the loss of leading scorer Lyle Taylor, who refused to return to playing after the lockdown. Furthermore, the transfer embargo meant that manager Bowyer was unable to sign players during the winter transfer window. Summer squad building was always going to be a challenge against that backdrop, although Conor Washington and MK Dons’ midfielder Alex Gilbey arrived immediately the embargo was partially lifted. They have been told that they have to release a player before they can sign another, with the EFL considering Charlton’s existing squad to be complete already within the terms of the new 22-man limit. Provided Charlton’s ownership issues can be resolved in the immediate future, the embargo should be lifted and they are likely to be very active late in the transfer window. Watch this space with interest too.

Charlton’s season will depend on what happens in the boardroom. Immediate stability could create the environment for promotion back to the Championship. Lee Bowyer has taken this side up before, and a number of those players remain. Continued strife could lead to Bowyer’s departure and another season of problems. Never has a new season both promised and threatened so much, so take your pick.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 4/1

Prediction: Play-offs if the off-field problems can be resolved quickly.

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Prior to Joe Morrell, who was the last loanee to win the Player of the Season award?

If you haven’t already had a go at our quizzes, this is a great way to learn some random information about the Football Club, as well as helping us generate much-needed page views: Quiz No.1, Quiz No.2, Quiz No.3, Quiz No.4, Quiz No.5, Quiz No.6, Quiz No.7, Quiz No.8, Quiz No.9Quiz No.10, Quiz No.11Quiz No.12, Quiz No.13, Quiz No.14, Quiz No.15, Quiz No.16, Quiz No.17, Quiz No.18, Quiz No.19, Quiz No.20, Quiz No.21, Quiz No.22, Quiz No.23, Quiz No.24, Quiz No.25, Quiz No.26, Quiz No.27, Quiz No.28, Quiz No.29 and Quiz No.30.

Vital Lincoln City – League One Season Preview 2020-21:Part One – Page One:https://lincoln.vitalfootball.co.uk/vital-lincoln-city-league-one-season-preview-2020-21-part-one/#UTMP #BristolRovers #CAFC

Zveřejnil(a) Vital Lincoln City dne Čtvrtek 10. září 2020

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