To keep up to date with the latest transfers of the Football Clubs in Part Two, 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

LINCOLN CITY

Last season: 16th
P35 W12 D6 L17 F44 A46 Pts42
Average attendance: 8,985

Chairman: Clive Nates, 62 (appointed June 2018)

Manager: Michael Appleton, 44 (appointed September 2019)

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

Players out (14):

Goalkeepers (3):
Grant Smith, 26 (on trial at Southend United 7/9)
Josh Vickers, 24
Charlie Andrew, 20

Defenders (7):
Jamie McCombe, 37 (retired)
Jason Shackell, 36
Alan Sheehan, 33
Michael Bostwick, 32 (Burton Albion)
Neal Eardley, 31 (Burton Albion)
Cian Bolger, 28 (Northampton Town)
Akeem Hinds, 20

Midfielders (4):
Lee Frecklington, 35
Tom Pett, 28
Jack Payne, 25 (Swindon Town)
Ellis Chapman, 19

Forwards (0):

Players in (12):

Goalkeepers (2):
Alex Palmer, 24 (West Bromwich Albion – season loan)
Ethan Ross, 23 (Colchester United)

Defenders (4):
Joe Walsh, 28 (Milton Keynes Dons)
Adam Jackson, 26 (Hibernian)
Lewis Montsma, 22 (FC Dordrecht – Netherlands)
TJ Eyoma, 20 (Tottenham Hotspur – season loan)

Midfielders (5):
Liam Bridcutt, 31 (Nottingham Forest)
James Jones, 24 (Crewe Alexandra)
Conor McGrandles, 24 (Milton Keynes Dons)
Theo Archibald, 22 (Macclesfield Town)
Remy Howarth, 22 (Cefn Druids)

Forwards (1):
Callum Morton, 20 (West Bromwich Albion – season loan)

Average age of players out: 28
Average age of players in: 23

Number of players in squad: 23

Player of the Season 2019-20: Joe Morrell, 23 (central midfield) – no longer with club

One to watch: Lewis Montsma, 22 (centre-half)

Season ticket sales: 4,400 (at 2/9/2020 – sales suspended)

Ground capacity: 10,300

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,000 (all seated – may be extended to 1,900)

Pre-season:
P5 W2 D0 L3 F9 A6

18/8 Salford City A 0-1
22/8 LEICESTER CITY H 2-3 Edun, Hopper
25/8 SCUNTHORPE UNITED H 4-0 Walsh, Elbouzedi, Eyoma, Hopper
29/8 Oldham Athletic A 1-2 Scully
1/9 Nottingham Forest U23 A 2-0 Roughan, Trialist

Commentary:

Lincoln will be relatively pleased with their first season back in the third tier, finishing in their highest league position for 36 years. City actually topped the League One table after winning their first three games, but that was as good as it got. Given the upheaval of losing iconic manager Danny Cowley seven games into the new season and implementing a revised recruitment policy in January, consolidation in lower mid-table was the natural outcome. Gates have held up well despite failing to win a trophy for the first time in four seasons, averaging around the 9,000 mark for the third year in succession.

Summer business was impressive, with a dozen departures and a dozen arrivals. Some of the big names have gone, the more notable departures being captain Jason Shackell, defensive rock Michael Bostwick and former Welsh international Neal Eardley. Lincoln had an ageing squad that manager Michael Appleton believed could not compete in League One, especially considering the intensity of games likely to be faced this season. The average age of the squad has reduced drastically from 27 a year ago to 23 as Appleton seeks to change the playing style to a more energetic passing game. The minimum quota of fifteen midweek games this season makes that look a very wise decision.

At the same time, experience has not been neglected. The standout signing is former Scotland international Liam Bridcutt from Nottingham Forest after a successful loan spell last season. Bridcutt will captain the side in addition to having a coaching role. Centre-halves Adam Jackson and Joe Walsh will add strength and experience behind Bridcutt, while West Bromwich Albion prodigy Callum Morton and TJ Eyoma from Spurs stand out among the loan signings. Goalkeeper and League Two Player of the Season Alex Palmer completes a major squad revolution in just over a year – only one player remains from the squad that won League Two in May 2019.

Off the field, the redevelopment of the Stacey West Stand at the LNER Stadium is pencilled in for next summer, increasing the capacity to just under 12,000. Demand for season tickets has held up well in spite of anticipated coronavirus protocols.

Nineteen of Lincoln’s players are aged 25 or under, which bodes well for the future; on the other side of that coin, it may also suggest that a promotion bid may be beyond such a young squad in the short term. Transition is the name of the game at Sincil Bank right now, with a shot at promotion possibly the season after. Lincoln have not appeared in the second tier of English football since 1961, and that is unlikely to change in the next twelve months.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 9/1

Prediction: Mid-table.


MILTON KEYNES DONS

Last season: 19th
P35 W10 D7 L18 F36 A47 Pts37
Average attendance: 9,246

Chairman/owner: Pete Winkelman, 62 (appointed March 2004)

Manager: Russell Martin, 34 (appointed November 2019)

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

Players out (12):

Goalkeepers (1):
Stuart Moore, 25

Defenders (3):
Russell Martin, 34 (retired)
Joe Walsh, 28 (Lincoln City)
Jordan Moore-Taylor, 26 (Forest Green Rovers)

Midfielders (5):
Ryan Harley, 35 (Bath City)
Ben Reeves, 28 (Plymouth Argyle)
Alex Gilbey, 25 (Charlton Athletic)
Conor McGrandles, 24 (Lincoln City)
Charlie Pattison, 19

Forwards (3):
Jordan Bowery, 29 (Mansfield Town)
Rhys Healey, 25 (Toulouse – France)
Dylan Asonganyi, 19 (Oxford United)

Players in (7):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (3):
Richard Keogh, 34 (Derby County)
Daniel Harvie, 22 (Ayr United)
Warren O’Hora, 21 (Brighton & Hove Albion – season loan)

Midfielders (3):
Scott Fraser, 25 (Burton Albion)
Louis Thompson, 25 (Norwich City – season loan)
Lasse Sørensen, 20 (Stoke City – season loan)

Forwards (1):
Carlton Morris, 24 (Norwich City – season loan)

Average age of players out: 26
Average age of players in: 24

Number of players in squad: 24

Player of the Season 2019-20: Alex Gilbey, 25 (central midfield) – no longer with club

One to watch: Scott Fraser, 25 (attacking midfielder)

Season ticket sales: not disclosed

Ground capacity: 30,500

Visiting supporter capacity: 3,000 (all seated – may be extended to 8,000)

Pre-season:

P6 W0 D3 L3 F8 A18
15/8 CAMBRIDGE UNITED H 2-2 Jallow 2
18/8 Stevenage A 1-1 Gladwin
21/8 Norwich City A 0-6
22/8 COVENTRY CITY H 2-3 Bird, OG
25/8 ARSENAL H 1-4 OG
29/8 Fulham A 2-2 Brittain, Poole

Commentary:

“There is a different feel about it. In training last season, there was lot of anxiety about our league position, but this year there is a shift in mentality. There is real belief and positivity amongst the group.” – MK Dons manager Russell Martin

MK Dons endured a nervous first season back in League One, only securing safety when the season was curtailed in March. They actually started quite brightly, sitting tenth after a 3-0 win at Blackpool in mid-September, but that was to be the high point. A dismal run of one point from eleven games dumped them into the bottom three and led to the departure of promotion-winning manager Paul Tisdale in November. The appointment of centre-half Russell Martin saw a brief improvement in form, with MKD ultimately finishing five points clear of relegated Tranmere.

Having officially retired from playing, Martin faces the task of building a squad more able to compete in League One. Nine players were released in the retained list, but summer plans were regularly affected as four players who were still under contract chose to move elsewhere. Alex Gilbey is the most significant loss, becoming the first player signed by Charlton after their transfer embargo was partially lifted. Midfield star Gilbey has been voted Player of the Season for the last two years and will be hard to replace. Rhys Healey was another big loss, just two weeks before the season opener. That left the youngest manager in the division having to replace half of his squad, although four players who were released or out of contract have been re-signed.

On the plus side, dangerous striker Carlton Morris returns on loan from Norwich for a second season. Morris has made an astonishing 153 appearances on loan to other clubs during his time at Carrow Road, and only one for his parent club; one wonders how much longer it will be before he moves on a permanent basis. His Norwich colleague Louis Thompson also returns for the season in midfield, while 34-year-old Richard Keogh has over 400 appearances in the Championship to his name; he should add experience and quality to the defence if he can remain fit during a compacted season. Scott Fraser has been brought in from Burton Albion, and is rumoured to be the highest-paid player at the club.

MK Dons is another League One club with horrendous finances. A loss of £4 million for the 2018-19 promotion season took the club’s total debt to £14 million, £11 million of which is owed to owner Pete Winkelman’s company Stadium MK. Price of Football expert Kieran Maguire states that the club posted an overall operating loss of £26.9 million for the last ten years, a loss of £52,000 per week. Part of that was undoubtedly caused by an expensive spell in the Championship, but the numbers show how dependent the club has been on its owner. With a relatively high-cost base, the need to develop a source of income during the corona suspension was paramount: Winkelman believes the business was operating at just 25% of capacity as late as July. Stadium MK hosted a number of high-profile events during the summer including darts and snooker league tournaments in an attempt to boost revenue. Success on the field is needed if those losses are to reduce significantly, but consolidation in League One is likely to be the best outcome this season.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 14/1

Prediction: Lower mid-table unless the squad is improved before the transfer window closes.


NORTHAMPTON TOWN

Last season: 7th in League Two (promoted via play-offs)
P37 W17 D7 L13 F54 A40 Pts58
Average attendance: 5,101

Chairman: Kelvin Thomas, 48 (appointed December 2015)

Manager: Keith Curle, 56 (appointed October 2018)

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

Players out (15):

Goalkeepers (2):
David Cornell, 29 (Ipswich Town)
Bradley Lashley, 19

Defenders (7):
Alan McCormack, 36
Charlie Goode, 25 (Brentford)
Reece Hall-Johnson, 25 (Wrexham)
Jordan Turnbull, 25 (Salford City)
Ryan Hughes, 19 (AFC Rushden & Diamonds)
Camron McWilliams, 19
Jay Williams, 19

Midfielders (3):
Paul Anderson, 32
Sean Whaler, 20
Jack Newell, 19

Forwards (3):
Andy Williams, 34 (Cheltenham Town)
Vadaine Oliver, 28 (Gillingham)
Billy Waters, 25

Players in (9):

Goalkeepers (1):
Jonathan Mitchell, 25 (Derby County – season loan)

Defenders (4):
Joseph Mills, 30 (Forest Green Rovers)
Cian Bolger, 28 (Lincoln City)
Fraser Horsfall, 23 (Macclesfield Town)
Luka Racic, 21 (Brentford – season loan)

Midfielders (1):
Christopher Missilou, 28 (Oldham Athletic)

Forwards (3):
Joe Nuttall, 23 (Blackpool – season loan)
Ricky Korboa, 23 (Carshalton Athletic)
Benny Ashley-Seal, 21 (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

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

Number of players in squad: 24

Player of the Season 2019-20: Charlie Goode, 25 (centre-half) – no longer with club

One to watch: Benny Ashley-Seal, 21 (centre-forward)

Season ticket sales: not disclosed

Ground capacity: 7,798

Visiting supporter capacity: 900 (can be increased to 1,350)

Pre-season:
P3 W1 D1 L1 F3 A5
22/8 LEYTON ORIENT H 1-0 Hoskins
25/8 WEST BROMWICH ALBION U23 H 2-2 Smith, Mills
29/8 LUTON TOWN H 0-3

Commentary:

“League One is a very strong league. There are some fantastic clubs in this league but they are here for a reason and we will compete against them. The size of a club, the size of their budget doesn’t bother us. We have our fundamentals, our heart, togetherness and our desire and that is what we will carry us forward. Budgets and squad sizes don’t guarantee you results.” – Northampton manager Keith Curle

After eighteen years and over 500 competitive games as a manager, Keith Curle finally has his first promotion. By his own admission, he needed one after such a barren period. Northampton sneaked up via the play-offs, having finished in seventh place in League Two. They were not in good form prior to the play-offs, losing five of their last seven games before curtailment, so their promotion came as a surprise to many. However, promoted they are, and Curle must now turn his attention to what realistically will be a League One survival bid.

Goals may prove a problem in League One without major surgery. History shows that teams promoted to League One score on average 27 fewer goals than in League Two. Furthermore, much has been made of their style of play, and the need to adapt to League One is obvious. Curle recognised this, and made a good start to that process by releasing thirteen players immediately after the play-off final. The sale of captain Charlie Goode to Brentford will affect them defensively, but the rumoured £1 million fee represents great business for a player signed on a free transfer a year ago. Benny Ashley-Seal was on the edge of a Premier League place not too long ago and could score goals in League One, while experience at the back has been added in the shape of Joseph Mills and new captain Cian Bolger. The squad appears incomplete at the time of writing, so expect further incomings before the deadline.

Off the field, there are plans to complete the skeletal East Stand, the subject of a notorious £10.25 million loan from Northampton Borough Council in 2013 that disappeared into thin air. A five-year police investigation into theft, fraud, money laundering, bribery and misconduct in public office is still unresolved despite a number of arrests. Ongoing public disputes between the club and the Supporters Trust over stadium development and a number of other issues has not helped those plans to progress, and the development remains in abeyance.

Teams winning promotion through the play-offs often do surprisingly well in League One, although Tranmere went straight back down last season. The bookmakers are not optimistic, and something special may be required if Northampton are to avoid a second relegation in four seasons.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 28/1

Prediction: Unsuccessful relegation battle, although there are six or seven other clubs in there too.


OXFORD UNITED

Last season: 4th (lost in the play-off final)

P35 W17 D9 L9 F61 A37 Pts60

Average attendance: 7,636

Chairman/owner: Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth, 57 (appointed February 2018)

Manager: Karl Robinson, 39 (appointed March 2018)

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

Players out (4):

Goalkeepers (1):
Max Harris, 20 (Cheltenham Town)

Defenders (1):
Rob Dickie, 24 (Queens Park Rangers)

Midfielders (1):
George Thorne, 27

Forwards (1):
Jamie Mackie, 34 (retired)

Players in (7):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (1):
Sean Clare, 23 (Heart Of Midlothian)

Midfielders (2):
Liam Kelly, 24 (Feyenoord – Netherlands – season loan)
Marcus McGuane, 21 (Nottingham Forest – season loan)

Forwards (4):
Matty Taylor, 30 (Bristol City)
Joel Cooper, 24 (Linfield)
Derick Osei Yaw, 21 (Stade Brest – France)
Dylan Asonganyi, 19 (Milton Keynes Dons)

Average age of players out: 26
Average age of players in: 23

Number of players in squad: 23

Player of the Season 2019-20: Rob Dickie, 24 (centre-half) – no longer with club

One to watch: Matty Taylor, 30 (centre-forward)

Season ticket sales: 3,900 (at 29/7/2020)

Ground capacity: 12,500

Visiting supporter capacity: up to 5,000

Pre-season:
P6 W D L F A
21/8 WOKING H 4-0 Sykes, Osei Yaw, Taylor, Ruffels
22/8 BANBURY UNITED H 5-0 Agyei 2, Osei Yaw, Asonganyi, Ruffels
23/8 OXFORD CITY H 3-0 Taylor 2, Brannagan
25/8 Crystal Palace A 1-2 Brannagan
29/8 QUEENS PARK RANGERS H 1-0 Taylor
1/9 Brentford A 2-2 Osei Yaw 2

Commentary:

“Football has changed because of coronavirus and there will be a lot of good players out there trying to find a club. We will look at all our options and don’t forget we also have our Academy where a lot of very good young players will be coming through over the next few years. Karl will have a good budget and we will bring in the right players. Potential is a good word for who we want to attract but we have to balance that. You also need older more experienced players around.” – Oxford chairman Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth

As ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth indicated in his message to fans during the summer, Oxford look set to continue their strategy of balancing homegrown players with a blend of youth and experience from elsewhere. It was a strategy that delivered promotion from League Two under previous manager Michael Appleton, and is starting to pay dividends in the transfer market. After years of big losses, Oxford believe that transfer fees received in 2019-20 will produce a retrospective profit for the last two financial years. With current net liabilities of £16.46 million, they will need to continue the process of profitable sales for some time yet. Given the latest loss of £4.3 million for 2018-29 and that they have been in the red for seven of the last eight financial years, it will be interesting to see how the salary cap impacts on the Oxford squad.

As for last season, it is easy to forget that Oxford started the season poorly, and were in the bottom four in September. A run of seven wins and three draws from ten games carried them into the play-off places, where they essentially remained. Strikers Tariq Fosu and Shandon Baptiste were sold to Brentford in January for a rumoured £3 million fee, yet Oxford barely faltered. Further disruption threatened when manager Karl Robinson was targeted by Blackpool in February, but his decision to remain proved justified as Oxford coasted into the play-offs with five successive wins. Sadly, an undeserved defeat by Wycombe in the final consigned them to another season in League One.

Signings have been among the best in the division, with Matty Taylor returning from Bristol City on a permanent basis. Former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Marcus McGuane is on a season-long loan from Nottingham Forest, and former Reading midfielder Liam Kelly returns on loan for a full season. Derick Osei Yaw and Joel Cooper are imaginative signings up front, meaning that Oxford have strengthened in all areas. Outgoings were minimal. The loss of Player of the Season Rob Dickie ten days before the season opener was not ideal, although the rumoured £1m transfer fee will come in handy in balancing their books.

Despite those player sales this year, Oxford are not in a great place financially. On the positive side, the debt to former owner Darryl Eales has been cleared, and disputes over stadium rent are seemingly at an end. The imposition of the salary cap may enable the club to direct earnings towards reducing those eyewatering net liabilities, although there is no reason to believe that Oxford will not be challenging for promotion again this season.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 11/4

Prediction: Automatic promotion.


PETERBOROUGH UNITED

Last season: 7th
P35 W17 D8 L10 F68 A40 Pts59
Average attendance: 7,371

Chairman/owner: Darragh MacAnthony, 44 (appointed September 2006)

Joint-owners: Dr Jason Neale, 51 (appointed February 2018); Stewart Thompson, 55 (appointed February 2018)

Manager: Darren Ferguson, 48 (appointed January 2019)

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

Players out (9):

Goalkeepers (2):
Aaron Chapman, 30
Conor O’Malley, 26 (retired)

Defenders (1):
Rhys Bennett, 29

Midfielders (5):
Alex Woodyard, 27 (AFC Wimbledon)
Marcus Maddison, 26
Mark O’Hara, 24 (Motherwell)
Callum Cooke, 23 (Bradford City)
George Cooper, 23 (Plymouth Argyle)

Forwards (1):
Ivan Toney, 24 (Brentford)

Players in (7):

Goalkeepers (1):
Dániel Gyollai, 23 (Wigan Athletic)

Defenders (1):
Ronnie Edwards, 17 (Barnet)

Midfielders (4):
Reece Brown, 24 (Huddersfield Town – season loan)
Sammie Szmodics, 24 (Bristol City)
Ryan Broom, 23 (Cheltenham Town)
Ethan Hamilton, 21 (Manchester United)

Forwards (1):
Jonson Clarke-Harris, 26 (Bristol Rovers)

Average age of players out: 25
Average age of players in: 22

Number of players in squad: 28 (four players omitted from squad)

Player of the Season 2019-20: Ivan Toney, 24 (centre-forward) – no longer with club

One to watch: Sammie Szmodics, 24 (attacking midfield)

Season ticket sales: 2,900 (at 31/7/2020)

Ground capacity: 15,314

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,800 (all seated)

Pre-season:
P10 W7 D0 L3 F27 A10
1/8 Stamford A 1-0 Rolt
4/8 PETERBOROUGH SPORTS H 4-2 Cartwright, Cooper, 2 OGs
8/8 KETTERING TOWN H 8-0 Rolt 3, Eisa 2, Taylor (pen), Clarke, Cooper
11/8 Mansfield Town A 2-0 Dembélé, Boyd
18/8 Stoke City U23 N 3-0 Burrows, Jones, Toney at St George’s Park
19/8 Derby County N 1-2 Dembélé at St George’s Park
25/8 Colchester United (match 1) A 3-1 Butler 2, Dembélé
25/8 Colchester United (match 2) A 2-0 Jones 2
29/8 COVENTRY CITY (match 1) H 1-2 Broom
29/8 COVENTRY CITY (match 2) H 2-3 Jones, Eisa

Commentary:

“My expectations have doubled for next season. I want the title and the Football League Trophy. We don’t set out to fail. We don’t set out to finish mid-table. We play to win. Go big or go home. Do I put pressure on the people around me? Yes I do and I don’t regret it.”– Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony

Peterborough United are another club for whom the 2019-20 season promised much, but ultimately delivered nothing. Six successive wins and twenty goals through January and February carried the side into the top two in a congested table, and the remaining fixtures suggested automatic promotion was a real possibility. The curtailment of the season left Posh agonisingly in seventh place, on the same points total as eventual play-off winners Wycombe. The legal action threatened by chairman Darragh MacAnthony never materialised, leaving his club to prepare for an eighth successive season in League One.

Those preparations got off to a challenging start, with many fans critical of the club’s proposal for reimbursing unused season tickets. Contrary to the majority of League One clubs, no cash refund was offered, the options being either to accept credit against season ticket purchases for 2021-22 and 2022-23 (not 2020-21, note) or to donate the financial value to the club’s academy. The imminent multi-million-pound sale of top scorer Ivan Toney was a fundamental part of supporter dissatisfaction, as was the fact that the club has three millionaire owners who could probably afford to refund fans out of loose change.

Peterborough were the top scorers in League One last season with an impressive 68 goals from 35 games. Ivan Toney accounted for 24 of those, and he will have to be replaced if the chairman’s ambitions are to be realised. New signing Jonson Clarke-Harris averaged better than a goal every two games for Bristol Rovers, and will have to repeat that form if he is to repay a rumoured £1m transfer fee. Fellow striker Mo Eisa remains, and will be eager to add to his creditable 14 league goals last term. Another prized asset in Marcus Maddison has also departed, having been valued at £2.5 million six months earlier. Maddison refused to sign a new contract, and allegedly priced himself out of a move to a number of Championship clubs through what Charlton Athletic called excessive wage demands. Influential midfielder Sammie Szmodics returns from Bristol City on a permanent basis, again for a substantial amount.

Peterborough have an excellent record in the transfer market in recent years, selling a number of players for big money. Some observers have been critical of the model, pointing to the high cost base and the fact that the club continues to lose money despite higher than average player sales (a loss of £1.1 million in 2018-19 and £0.75 million the year before). That should be corrected by the sale of Toney, although the club has taken on the cost of a new stadium, due for completion in January 2023. Furthermore, MacAnthony states that there was a £4 million budget deficit last season, with a similar deficit anticipated this season. If that is true, the estimated £10 million received (in instalments) for Toney will not even plug the gap – Newcastle United are believed to have a 30% sell-on clause. It also raises questions regarding the imminent salary cap.

Darragh MacAnthony has named this season The Vengeance Tour, although quite what manager Darren Ferguson thinks of his chairman’s demands for the League One title and the Leasing.com Trophy has not been recorded.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 9/4 (joint-favourites)

Prediction: Play-offs.


PLYMOUTH ARGYLE

Last season: 3rd in League Two (promoted)
P37 W20 D8 L9 F61 A39 Pts68
Average attendance: 10,338

Chairman/owner: Simon Hallett, 64 (appointed August 2018)

Manager: Ryan Lowe, 41 (appointed June 2019)

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

Players out (8):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (1):
Tafari Moore, 23

Midfielders (4):
Antoni Sarcevic, 28 (Bolton Wanderers)
Callum McFadzean, 26
Michael Peck, 19
Tom Purrington, 19

Forwards (3):
Joel Grant, 33
Ryan Taylor, 32 (Newport County)
Alex Fletcher, 21 (Tiverton Town)

Players in (9):

Goalkeepers (2):
Luke McCormick, 37 (Swindon Town)
Jack Ruddy, 22 (Leganés B – Spain)

Defenders (1):
Kelland Watts, 20 (Newcastle United – season loan)

Midfielders (4):
Ben Reeves, 28 (Milton Keynes Dons)
Lewis Macleod, 26 (Wigan Athletic)
Panutche Camará, 23 (Crawley Town)
George Cooper, 23 (Peterborough United)

Forwards (2):
Frank Nouble, 28 (Colchester United)
Ryan Hardie, 23 (Blackpool – season loan)

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

Number of players in squad: 28

Player of the Season 2019-20: Antoni Sarcevic, 28 (central midfield) – no longer with club

One to watch: Danny Mayor, 29 (winger)

Season ticket sales: 4,900 (at 12/8/2020)

Ground capacity: 18,200

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,300 (all seated – may be increased to 2,022)

Pre-season:
P5 W2 D0 L3 F7 A9
8/8 PLYMOUTH PARKWAY H 2-1 Miller, Jephcott
19/8 Glasgow Rangers XI A 2-3 Sawyer, Trialist
25/8 MIDDLESBROUGH H 0-1
27/8 MIDDLESBROUGH H 1-3 Lolos
29/8 FOREST GREEN ROVERS H 2-1 Hardie, Jephcott

Commentary:

We think our football budget is appropriate for League One and we think it’s appropriate for today’s financial circumstances. We think that most clubs are going to be constrained so it’s going to be a pretty good market for clubs who have cash, like we are going to have. But it’s going to be a time when we are going to continue to need to make some tough decisions.” – Plymouth owner Simon Hallett

Despite winning their first two games after relegation in 2019, Plymouth endured an indifferent start to last season. In the bottom half by the end of September, an excellent run of fourteen wins from nineteen games through the winter months carried them into contention for automatic promotion. A 3-0 win over Grimsby in the penultimate match took them into the top three at an opportune moment, with promotion secured when football was suspended a week later.

Off the field, the £11 million refurbishment of the Mayflower Stand is now complete, improving ground facilities and increasing the capacity of Home Park to just over 18,000. The work has been paid for by Bristol-born chairman Simon Hallett, who took over the club in 2018 after making his fortune in Hong Kong and the USA. Hallett also promised to cover any lockdown losses made by the club up to the end of June, thereby maximising the playing budget for his club’s latest return to League One. To that end, he injected an extra £3.5 million in cash during the summer, although he also stated that this will be his final investment in the club. Like many clubs in the lower divisions, Plymouth is a loss-maker: the loss during the six-month period between January and June 2019 was £1.4 million for that period alone, making the club entirely dependent on Hallett. His total investment during his two years at the helm is believed to be around £20 million. It comes as no surprise that Plymouth were not supportive of the salary cap.

Summer squad building did not get off to the best of starts, with Callum McFadzean and Player of the Season Antoni Sarcevic rejecting contract offers to return to their native north. Owner Hallett’s ambiguous statement at the top of this article left supporters not knowing what standard of player would be arriving, and it looks a mixed bag. Further to some arrivals from League Two, influential midfielder George Cooper returns from Peterborough on a permanent basis, midfielder Ben Reeves has great experience of League One, while midfielder Lewis Macleod has featured regularly in the Championship with Wigan. At least Plymouth should have a strong midfield.

After two successive promotions from League Two, Ryan Lowe now has the chance to show his true qualities at a higher level. The tarnished promotion with Bury has been eliminated by last season’s success with Plymouth, although both promotions were very well-funded relative to the competition. That situation is set to change, with Plymouth needing to reduce spending significantly. Dealing with the salary cap in the post-corona League One will present a serious test to Lowe’s ability as a manager, which makes this season an unknown quantity for Plymouth.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 11/1

Prediction: Bottom eight, but should not have major problems staying up.

1 of 10

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 Two – Page One:https://lincoln.vitalfootball.co.uk/vital-lincoln-city-league-one-season-preview-2020-21-part-two/#OUFC #PUFC #PAFC

Zveřejnil(a) Vital Lincoln City dne Pátek 11. září 2020

2 Replies to “Vital Lincoln City – League One Season Preview 2020-21 (Part Two)”

  • Jules,
    I’ve just read your article regarding Wigan Athletic. I’m so disapointed as you have obviously spent a long time preparing it. Your peice is ill informed and (dare l say)? reeks a little of a bitter satisfaction in seeing Wigan Athletics demise.
    As a football fan of a small provincial club like Lincoln, you should be supportive of clubs like Wigan, as one day you might get your 15 minutes of fame.
    For the record the debt you quote was way off the mark. The previous owner tried to recoup his investment. Do your research properly!
    Regards David.

    • A reply from the author (because the author wasn’t me if you bother to read the article properly): “I am sorry if anyone doesn’t like what I have written about their club, but those who know me will be aware that I like facts. The numbers quoted in my preview come straight from Wigan’s own financial statements and from comments made by the administrators.

      Can a club that is £45m in debt on gates of 10,500 possibly be well-run? Although something strange has gone on with the takeover, I fail to see how that debt can be blamed on Au Yeung Wai Kay, and the debt is the underlying problem.

      As for players sold for good money, they got £500,000 for a 15-year-old for starters.”

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