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Vital Lincoln City – League One Season Preview 2022-23 (Part Two)

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The second part of our League One Season Preview focuses on Ipswich Town, Lincoln City, Milton Keynes Dons, Morecambe, Oxford United, Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle, Portsmouth, Port Vale, Sheffield Wednesday, Shrewsbury Town, and Wycombe Wanderers. If you missed Part One, that can be found HERE!

The article has been published with two pages (6 clubs on each page). To get to the second page, press “NEXT” at the bottom right of the page, or CLICK HERE!

INTRODUCTION

The information in this preview is complete to 5pm on Wednesday 27 July 2022.

Managerial data is as accurate as possible. 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. Given the increase in the number of coaches from development football, managerial data is drawn from senior football only.

An average points per game figure is given for each manager. 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, all permanent transfers in and out are included, as are longer-term loans in. All shorter-term loans in and out and season-long loans out are not included; that is because a player’s departure on loan is unlikely to have any bearing on the performance of his parent club, while short-term loans tend to have minimal impact. Players given their first professional contracts from academy status are not included as new signings. Remember that the transfer window does not close until 1 September, four weeks after the season begins: later signings may be significant.

There is usually a caveat with these Season Previews, and this year it is a very simple one: I have not had the time to complete it to the usual standard, so apologies if there are errors and omissions.

Due to some clubs insisting on operating separate U23 squads, departures from these squads are also listed to enable a fair comparison with those who run one squad only.

Player ages are as of 1 August 2022.

Finally, bookmakers’ odds are for promotion.

Scotimp, 27/7/2022

IPSWICH TOWN

Last season: 11th
P46 W18 D16 L12 F67 A46 Pts70

Owner: Gamechanger 20 Ltd

Chairman: Michael O’Leary, 69 (appointed April 2021)

Manager: Kieran McKenna, 36 (appointed December 2021)

Kieran McKenna’s managerial record:

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

Players out (13):

Goalkeepers (2):
Tomáš Holý, 30 (Carlisle United)
Bert White, 18

Defenders (5):
Myles Kenlock, 25
Levi Andoh, 22
Bailey Clements, 21 (Chesterfield)
Tommy Smith, 21 (Stowmarket Town)
Dylan Crowe, 20 (Torquay United)

Midfielders (4):
Tom Carroll, 30
Brett McGavin, 22 (Torquay United)
Armando Dobra, 21 (Chesterfield)
Ross Crane, 20

Forwards (2):
James Norwood, 31 (Barnsley)
Ola Bello, 19

Players in (6):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (2):
Greg Leigh, 27 (Morecambe)
Leif Davis, 22 (Leeds United)

Midfielders (2):
Dominic Ball, 26 (Queens Park Rangers)
Marcus Harness, 26 (Portsmouth)

Forwards (2):
Freddie Ladapo, 29 (Rotherham United)
Tyreece John-Jules, 21 (season loan from Arsenal)

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

Player of the Season 2021-22: Wes Burns, 27 (midfielder)

One to watch: Freddie Ladapo, 29 (striker)

Season ticket sales: 16,500

Ground capacity: 30,311

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,900 (all seated)

Pre-season:
P7 W3 D1 L3 F18 A13
25/6 Needham Market A 7-0 Chaplin 3, Ladapo, Leigh, Hughes, Penney
2/7 Arsenal  A 1-5 Aluko
12/7 WEST HAM UNITED H 1-2 Vincent-Young
16/7 Crystal Palace A 2-4 Ball, Aluko
16/7 AFC Wimbledon A 3-0 Morsy 2, John-Jules
23/7 Millwall A 1-1 Ladapo
26/7 SOUTHEND UNITED H 3-1 John-Jules, Leigh, Ladapo

Commentary:

“I’m not interested in what our first choice XI is, I’m interested in having a really strong group of players and having the right team available for different games. We’re not looking for that magic recipe of a first-choice XI because we’re going to have a strong squad, we’re going to have very capable depth of two players in each position and I’m going to have to use that squad over the course of the season.” – Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna

After three disappointing seasons of underachievement since relegation from the Championship, Ipswich Town at last look able to mount a serious challenge at the top of League One. The highest final position of ninth from those three seasons tells its own story and the Blues are already on their third manager in that time. This one is a bit different, though – the tried and tested old hands gave way in December to the new kid on the block in the shape of 36-year-old Manchester United first-team coach Kieran McKenna. Although there was to be no immediate fix, improvements were immediate despite the eleventh-place finish. As for the coming season, McKenna’s statement above indicates there is a clear strategy that comes straight from the Premier League.

To that end, a sizeable number of players departed again during the close season, although the majority were fringe players and those from the development squad. New signings Freddie Ladapo and Marcus Harness have the potential to score the goals to fire Ipswich to promotion, while former Lincoln striker Tyreece John-Jules replaces another former Imp Macauley Bonne, who has returned to QPR. Dominic Ball joins permanently from QPR and could prove the key signing as the midfield anchor after three productive seasons in the Championship.

Pre-season preparations got under way with a training camp in exotic Loughborough and included an interesting white-water rafting team-bonding exercise at Holme Pierrepont. On the pitch, Ipswich undertook a tough schedule with three games against quality Premier League opposition; eleven goals were conceded in those three games, perhaps rendering the exercise less beneficial than intended. Possibly representing another link to McKenna’s own Premier League background, Ipswich should be applauded for taking on such a daunting challenge.

Optimism is high that Ipswich can finally mount a serious promotion challenge after three seasons of rebuilding in League One, and season ticket sales are the highest for fifteen years. After some more summer bloodletting and fewer arrivals, the squad has a younger, more dynamic look to it than under previous managers. The bookmakers see Ipswich as second-favourites for the title, but do not be surprised if they go one better.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 6/4 (second favourites)

LINCOLN CITY

Last season: 17th
P46 W14 D10 L22 F56 A63 Pts52

Chairman: Clive Nates, 64 (appointed June 2018)

Head Coach: Mark Kennedy, 46 (appointed May 2022)

Mark Kennedy’s managerial record:

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

Players out (6):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (2):
Cohen Bramall, 26 (Rotherham United)
Max Melbourne, 23 (Morecambe)

Midfielders (3):
Liam Bridcutt, 33
Conor McGrandles, 26 (Charlton Athletic)
Theo Archibald, 24 (Leyton Orient)

Forwards (1):
John Marquis, 30 (Bristol Rovers)

Players in (6):

Goalkeepers (1):
Carl Rushworth, 21 (season loan from Brighton & Hove Albion)

Defenders (2):
Paudie O’Connor, 25 (Bradford City)
Jay Benn, 20 (FC Halifax Town)

Midfielders (3):
Charles Vernam, 25 (Bradford City)
Danny Mandroiu, 23 (Shamrock Rovers)
Tashan Oakley-Boothe, 22 (season loan from Stoke City)

Forwards (0):

Average age of players out: 27
Average age of players in: 23

Player of the Season 2021-22: Regan Poole, 24 (right-back, centre-half)

One to watch: Danny Mandroiu, 23 (attacking midfield)

Season ticket sales: 5,550

Ground capacity: 10,780

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,000 (can be extended to 2,100)

Pre-season:
P7 W1 D2 L4 F6 A10
2/7 Gainsborough Trinity A 4-0 Bishop, Roughan, Kendall, Brooks
5/7 Maccabi Netanya N 1-2 House (in Telki, Hungary)
12/7 Sheffield United (match 1) A 0-2
12/7 Sheffield United (match 2) A 0-4
16/7 Hartlepool United A 1-1 House
19/7 Grimsby Town A 0-0
23/7 BLACKBURN ROVERS H 0-1

Commentary:

“Overall we are pleased with our pre-season, we have seen some things implemented in friendlies that we have worked on in training. You have to have a balance and an understanding that it takes time to build things, but I am really confident that we will get there.” – Lincoln City head coach Mark Kennedy

Given the injury crisis from hell that plagued the club from before the season began and continued unabated to the penultimate game, it was perhaps some achievement that Lincoln managed to avoid relegation. However, it was a disappointing season considering their play-off final appearance twelve months earlier, and manager Michael Appleton parted company with the club after the final game at home to relegated Crewe. His replacement Mark Kennedy is largely an unknown quantity as a manager, having suffered one ill-fated spell at the helm of doomed Macclesfield Town in 2020. The fact that the Imps have also changed their assistant head coach, first-team coach, goalkeeping coach, head of medical, head of performance and several members of their sports science team may suggest a different approach this season.

Off the field, Lincoln have scaled down plans to redevelop their Stacey West Stand due to prohibitive increases in costs and will now focus on building community facilities rather than the much-needed expansion of capacity. The stand itself will be sponsored by Lincolnshire Co-op this season after a switch of allegiance from the Sincil Bank side.

While only two departures were announced via the retained list, the final number leaving the club currently stands at six with four weeks of the transfer window remaining. The average age will be lower following those departures, especially given the arrival of six players aged 25 and under. The most intriguing signing is that of League of Ireland star Danny Mandroiu, while Brighton’s Carl Rushworth becomes the third England U21 goalkeeper to join the Imps on loan in the space of fifteen months. City’s playing budget was boosted by fees due from Cohen Bramall’s £200,000 transfer to Rotherham and a cut of Harry Toffolo’s transfer from Huddersfield to Nottingham Forest, so summer signings will almost certainly continue to the wire.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 22/1

MILTON KEYNES DONS

Last season: 3rd (lost in play-off semi-final)
P46 W26 D11 L9 F78 A44 Pts89

Chairman/owner: Pete Winkelman, 64 (appointed March 2004)

Head Coach: Liam Manning, 36 (appointed August 2021)

Liam Manning’s managerial record:

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

Players out (9):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (3):
Aden Baldwin, 25 (Notts County)
Brandon Mason, 24 (Crawley Town)
Harry Darling, 22 (Swansea City)

Midfielders (4):
Hiram Boateng, 26 (Mansfield Town)
Scott Twine, 23 (Burnley)
David Kasumu, 22 (Huddersfield Town)
John Freeman, 20

Forwards (2):
Connor Wickham, 29
Jay Bird, 21

Players in (13):

Goalkeepers (1):
Jamie Cumming, 22 (season loan from Chelsea)

Defenders (3):
Jack Tucker, 22 (Gillingham)
Henry Lawrence, 20 (season loan from Chelsea)
Daniel Oyegoke, 19 (season loan from Brentford)

Midfielders (6):
Bradley Johnson, 35 (Blackburn Rovers)
Ethan Robson, 25 (Blackpool)
Nathan Holland, 24 (West Ham United)
Conor Grant, 21 (Rochdale)
Dawson Devoy, 20 (Bohemian)
Louie Barry, 19 (season loan from Aston Villa)

Forwards (3):
Will Grigg, 31 (Sunderland)
Matt Dennis, 20 (Norwich City)
Darragh Burns, 19 (St Patrick’s Athletic)

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

Player of the Season 2021-22: Scott Twine, 23 (attacking midfielder) – no longer with the club

One to watch: Ethan Robson, 25 (central midfield)

Season ticket sales: 4,100

Ground capacity: 30,500

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

Pre-season:

P4 W3 D1 L0 F14 A1
5/7 AFC Rushden & Diamonds A 4-0 McEachran (pen), Kent, Holland, Robson
15/7 Norwich City U23 A 6-0 Burns 2, Smith, Grant, Kemp, Tripp
16/7 King’s Lynn Town A 1-1 OG
23/7 Barnet A 3-0 Grigg, Johnson, Devoy

Commentary:

“I’m really pleased with the business we’ve done. It has been a busy time for all of us but it is great to get in so many new lads. We’ve added variety with a huge upturn at the top end of the pitch… it has been a tough window, but we have come out with a huge number of positives. We’re still one or two off where we need to be but we need the right ones, not just any ones. We’ll continue to search to find the right profiles for what we need, and that takes time.” – MK Dons head coach Liam Manning

Last season got off to the worst of starts for MK Dons with the departure of manager Russell Martin to Swansea just six days before the season began. To finish within two points of automatic promotion is a testament to a sound recruitment strategy in replacing Martin with the right man in Liam Manning. After remaining in contention for automatic promotion for most of the season, successive defeats to play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Oxford with a fortnight remaining consigned the side to the play-offs where they were disappointingly beaten by Wycombe.

The summer saw the usual revolving door at Stadium MK with 9 departures and a massive 13 arrivals with a month of the window remaining. The Dons clearly see an opportunity for promotion this season and have backed their coach with what must be a significant budget for a club with average support. The club has net liabilities of almost £13 million, although much of that is owed to Pete Winkelman’s Stadium MK Group and is not likely to be called in.

As for close season changes, Scott Twine to Burnley and Harry Darling to Russell Martin’s Swansea are big losses but MKD have a great record of replacing big departures in recent seasons. Will Grigg returns to the club for his third spell while Bradley Johnson will add great experience in midfield. Player of the Season Ethan Robson returns on a permanent basis from Blackpool while loanee Dan Oyegoke won the U19 Euros this summer alongside former Lincoln prodigy Brooke Norton-Cuffy. Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming returns on loan from Chelsea for the second season in a row.

A five-day training camp in Ireland was followed by four fixtures against decidedly comfortable opposition. If the idea was to get the side scoring freely, it certainly had the desired effect with 14 goals in those four games. With a 5-0 win at Plymouth on the final day last time around, can MK Dons start this season where they left off?

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 3/1 (fifth)

MORECAMBE

Last season: 19th
P46 W10 D12 L24 F57 A88 Pts42

Owner: Bond Group Investments Ltd

Co-Chairmen: Graham Howse, 57; Rod Taylor, 69 (appointed November 2018)

Manager: Derek Adams, 47 (appointed February 2022)

Derek Adams‘ managerial record:

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

Players out (8):

Goalkeepers (1):
Kyle Letheren, 34 (Hartlepool United)

Defenders (3):
Rhys Bennett, 30
Greg Leigh, 27 (Ipswich Town)
Jacob Mensah, 22

Midfielders (4):
Toumani Diagouraga, 35 (Rochdale)
Aaron Wildig, 30 (Newport County)
Jonah Ayunga, 25 (St Mirren)
Freddie Price, 20

Forwards (0):

Players in (8):

Goalkeepers (1):
Connor Ripley, 29 (Preston North End)

Defenders (3):
Donald Love, 27 (Salford City)
Farrend Rawson, 26 (Mansfield Town)
Max Melbourne, 23 (Lincoln City)

Midfielders (4):
Ashley Hunter, 26 (Salford City)
Jake Taylor, 23 (Port Vale)
Caleb Watts, 20 (season loan from Southampton)
Jensen Weir, 20 (season loan from Brighton & Hove Albion)

Forwards (0):

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

Player of the Season 2021-22: Cole Stockton, 28 (striker)

One to watch: Cole Stockton, 28 (striker)

Season ticket sales: 2,402

Ground capacity: 6,476

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,689 (1,389 standing, 300 seated)

Pre-season:
P6 W1 D3 L2 F6 A10
5/7 Stalybridge Celtic A 2-1 Connolly (pen), Gnahoua
9/7 Macclesfield FC A 2-2 Stockton, Hunter
12/7 Huddersfield Town A 1-3 Obika
16/7 Chester A 1-1 Hunter
19/7 MIDDLESBROUGH H 0-3
23/7 CARLISLE UNITED H 0-0

Commentary:

“We offered [Cole Stockton] the contract at the end of last season and that’s still with the player at this moment in time. It hasn’t been accepted or rejected. It’s an ongoing situation but we’ve just got to be mindful that he has a year to go on his contract. We’ve offered him better terms than he was on and we would like to keep him. He’s looking to maybe try and get a better contract somewhere else and that’s always a player’s prerogative.” – Morecambe manager Derek Adams

The main priority for Morecambe this summer was to keep hold of star striker Cole Stockton, although having only a year to run on his contract meant that fewer clubs were willing to pay the premium for a 28-year-old striker. Morecambe face quite a dilemma: Stockton’s 23 league goals undoubtedly kept the club in the third tier and his retention appears vital if they are to stay up this time around; however, the best option may be to cash in now while his stock is high and a substantial fee is payable. Who would be a football manager?

Off the field, Morecambe are another League One club to have recorded the highest average attendance in the club’s history last season at 4,310. Season ticket sales have held up well, although likely to fall just short of last season’s record total of 2,561. A new cover over the Bartercard Terrace is due to open in August while the club have secured the most interesting commercial deal in League One – former World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury is to sponsor home and away shorts this season.

Whilst the main priority may be to retain Stockton, manager Adams also has to contend with having the worst defence in League One. Morecambe conceded almost two goals per game last season, and Adams commenced a complete overhaul of his squad in May. The plan to bring in a considerable number of new faces has not come to fruition, as only one of the ten players made available for transfer has found a new club. The problem was exacerbated by the loss of star defender Greg Leigh to Ipswich, and Adams has the fight of his life on his hands. Despite having retained Stockton at the time of writing, Morecambe are the overwhelming favourites with the bookmakers to occupy bottom place in League One this season.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 100/1 (bottom)

OXFORD UNITED

Last season: 8th
P46 W22 D10 L14 F82 A59 Pts76

Chairman/owner: Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth, 59 (appointed February 2018)

Head Coach: Karl Robinson, 41 (appointed March 2018)

Karl Robinson’s managerial record:

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

Players out (8):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (2):
Luke McNally, 22 (Burnley)
Michael Elechi, 20

Midfielders (5):
Ryan Williams, 28 (Perth Glory – Australia)
Joel Cooper, 26 (Linfield)
Jamie Hanson, 26
Mark Sykes, 24 (Bristol City)
Leon Chambers-Parillon, 20

Forwards (1):
Sam Winnall, 31

Players in (6):

Goalkeepers (1):
Ed McGinty, 22 (Sligo Rovers)

Defenders (3):
Stuart Findlay, 26 (Philadelphia Union – USA)
Ciaron Brown, 24 (Cardiff City)
Luke McNally, 22 (Burnley)

Midfielders (2):
Yanic Wildschut, 30 (CSKA Sofia – Bulgaria)
Josh Murphy, 27 (Cardiff City)

Forwards (0):

Average age of players out: 24
Average age of players in: 25

Player of the Season 2021-22: Cameron Brannagan, 26 (central midfield)

One to watch: Cameron Brannagan, 26 (central midfield)

Season ticket sales: 4,680

Ground capacity: 12,500

Visiting supporter capacity: up to 5,000

Pre-season:
P9 W5 D2 L2 F18 A12
2/7 Oxford City A 5-2 Brannagan 2, Henry, Long, Browne
9/7 North Leigh A 3-1 McGuane, Taylor (pen), Browne
9/7 Banbury United A 2-1 Brannagan, Goodrham
12/7 Hungerford Town A 2-1 Smyth, Davis
13/7 Eastleigh A 5-1 Browne 2, Seddon, Brannagan (pen), Trialist
16/7 COVENTRY CITY H 0-2
19/7 WEST BROMWICH ALBION H 0-3
20/7 Slough Town A 1-1 Owens
23/7 AFC Wimbledon A 0-0

Commentary:

“It’s always nice that people talk about you, but I’ve never been motivated by some of the things people think I am. That just means you’re doing something right and some people are happy with what you’re doing. I think the fact I’ve had so many bad moments in seasons brings you back down to earth very quickly. You know how quickly football can change, so I don’t get too carried away.”  – Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson

It was a familiar summer of speculation in deepest Oxfordshire as Karl Robinson was linked with a variety of clubs from Queens Park Rangers in the south to Hibernian in the north. One of the longest-serving managers in League One has not been tempted at this point, reiterating his commitment to the club and its ambitions.

Despite staying in the promotion picture for much of last season, seven points from their last seven games eventually saw Oxford finish seven points short of the play-offs, and Robinson has to rebuild once more. The sale of Luke McNally to Burnley for a reported £1.6m is the headline departure at The Kassam, although the fee will make barely a dent in Oxford’s eyewatering £17.3 million debt. Plans are being made for a new 18,000-capacity stadium at Kidlington, but time is of the essence – their lease at the Kassam Stadium expires in just four years’ time. Public consultation is under way, although quite where the money is going to come from to build it is a question the club is still to address. Promotion to the Championship would certainly be a huge step forward, but that will require more substantial investment in the shorter term.

Off-field challenges apart, summer signings have been drawn from England, Wales, Ireland, Bulgaria and the USA. Pick of the bunch is winger Josh Murphy from Cardiff, but perhaps the best news of the summer is that Player of the Season Cameron Brannagan remains. Oxford pursued their familiar pre-season schedule with five games against local non-league clubs plus a couple of home fixtures against Championship opposition. It proved a pre-season of two halves, with comfortable victories over the non-leaguers followed by comfortable defeats to Coventry and West Brom.

So, Karl Robinson enters his fifth full season at the helm knowing it may be his last chance to gain that elusive promotion for Oxford. Robinson remains under contract for a further two years but despite building a good name for himself in the lower divisions, he will be aware that he has just one promotion to his name from 537 league games in Football League management. That is something he will be eager to improve upon, and an indifferent season may eventually result in a successful approach for his services from a higher division.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 4/1

PETERBOROUGH UNITED

Last season: 22nd in the Championship (relegated)
P46 W9 D10 L27 F43 A87 Pts37

Chairman/owner: Darragh MacAnthony, 46 (appointed September 2006)

Joint owners: Dr Jason Neale, 53 (appointed February 2018); Stewart Thompson, 57 (appointed February 2018)

Manager: Grant McCann, 42 (appointed February 2022)

Grant McCann’s managerial record:

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

Players out (8):

Goalkeepers (1):
David Cornell, 31 (Preston North End)

Defenders (1):
Mark Beevers, 32 (Perth Glory – Australia)

Midfielders (6):
Jorge Grant, 27 (Heart of Midlothian)
Serhat Tasdemir, 22
Kyle Barker, 21
Kobe Chong, 21 (AFC Telford United)
Ethan Bojang, 19 (Gainsborough Trinity)
Connor Peters, 19 (St Joseph’s FC – Gibraltar)

Forwards (0):

Players in (5):

Goalkeepers (2):
Harvey Cartwright, 20 (season loan from Hull City)
Lucas Bergström, 19 (season loan from Chelsea)

Defenders (0):

Midfielders (3):
Ben Thompson, 26 (Gillingham)
David Ajiboye, 23 (Sutton United)
Hector Kyprianou, 21 (Leyton Orient)

Forwards (0):

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

Player of the Season 2021-22: Ronnie Edwards, 19 (centre-half)

One to watch: Jonson Clarke-Harris, 28 (striker)

Season ticket sales: Not disclosed

Ground capacity: 15,314

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,800

Pre-season:
P8 W3 D3 L2 F14 A7
8/7 Leyton Orient N 3-0 Jones, Randall, Marriott  (at Lagos, Portugal)
12/7 Deeping Rangers A 4-0 Clarke-Harris 2, Randall, Poku
13/7 Stevenage A 1-1 Clarke-Harris
16/7 Barnet A 2-2 Kyprianou, Taylor
20/7 LUTON TOWN H 0-2
20/7 King’s Lynn Town A 0-1
23/7 HULL CITY H 3-0 Szmodics 2, Randall
23/7 Scunthorpe United A 1-1 OG

Commentary:

“We want to be as successful as we can, a lot of this team has been promoted from this division before and we want to try and be up at the top end of the division. It’s going to be a tough league. I think what’s important is that if we lose one or two games, that everybody stays calm. Nothing is won in August or September, so we have to make sure we take that mindset into the season.”  – Peterborough United manager Grant McCann

So, Peterborough United return to League One just twelve months after they left it. Posh got away to a poor start last season and were dead and buried by the time Darren Ferguson parted company with the club for the third time in February. A brief late season rally gave some hope but relegation by four points was the final position.

Despite seemingly endless promotion challenges, it is surprising that Peterborough have spent just four seasons in the second tier since the turn of the century. Plans for a new stadium are still ongoing, seen as a necessity if Peterborough are to achieve the ambition of establishing the club at Championship level. In the interim, the Peterborough United Bond was launched in May with a target of raising £1.5m for infrastructure projects around the club, eventually reaching the maximum £2.5m subscription.

On the playing side, rapid turnover in search of gems continues to be the model. A massive sixteen players were signed on a permanent basis during last season with fifteen departures. Former Lincoln Player of the Season Jorge Grant lasted just one season before being discarded this summer along with seven others at the time of writing. However, McCann appears to be placing his faith in the team that fought for Championship survival, although there will certainly be room in the budget if required. Incomings have been limited to five relatively low-key signatures including two loans. Meanwhile, Lincoln supporters may be pleased to hear that Posh have rejected three million-pound offers from Blackburn Rovers for Sammie Szmodics.

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

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