The Posh were the only team that has ever been relegated from the championship on 54 points on the final day of last season. Although they last seasons top scorer Dwight Gayle they received a significant sum of money from the deal and have replaced him with Britt Assombalonga a striker who thrived whilst on loan at League Two Southend last season. Having retained most of their players and more crucially their manager Darren Ferguson who knows the club inside out Peterborough have a real chance of bouncing straight back up to The Championship.
Preston look to have the foundations in place to have an improved season from last years 14th place finish. In Simon Grayson they have a manager who knows how to get promoted from League 1. Big Kevin Davies should still have enough left to trouble League 1 defences despite being 36. Could be dark horses for promotion.
Carlisle United have the longest serving manager in League 1 in Greg Abbott but after an unimpressive 17th placed finish last season he may find himself under pressure pretty early on if results don’t go to plan. The Cumbrian club conceded the most goals in the division last season and haven’t signed experienced defenders over the summer. It would be surprising if they weren’t struggling near the bottom of the league.
Crewe Alexandra’s philosophy of developing young talents has worked extremely well over recent seasons taking them to Johnstones Paint success at Wembley and establishing a solid 13th position in League 1 last term. However names on Crewe’s production line have been inevitably cherry picked by bigger clubs with the likes of Nick Powell and Ashley Westwood moving to the premier league. Now the club have lost key midfielder Luke Murphy to Leeds and although they will receive a 1 million pound cash windfall they will likely reinvest astutely back into the youth with the long term vision prioritised. They could well be in for a tough season and it will take time for the new youngsters to gain the vital experience they need to compete.
Newly promoted Gillingham may have to set their sights on maintaining their league 1 status this season with a squad added to largely by free transfers. Adebayo Akinfenwa has been a consistently high scorer in League 2 in his career but it is doubtful whether be such a prolific source of goals in League 1. Danny Kedwell who was also effective in the division lower will need to step up to the plate and reproduce his 14 goals. They had a very good defensive record last season so if they can keep defensively solid they have a chance to avoid the drop.
Notts County have had to cut down the wage bill and have lost a large number of established players such as Jeff hughes and Neal Bishop in midfield along with Alan Judge who has been a key attacking threat for the past two years and was joint top goalscorer with Campbell Ryce last term. Manager Chris Kiwomya will be looking to increase the goalscoring output of pacy striker Danny Haynes to a double figure total and may be the right man to extract his full potential. A safe mid table position may be harder to achieve this time round for County with the division filling up with big clubs who will all be wanting to bounce back up.
Port Vale’s automatic promotion from League 2 last season was largely down to there prolific attacking exploits spearheaded by the 31 goal striker Tom Pope. They will again be reliant on Pope to score the majority of their goals. There defence however was slightly less to be admired and that was even in League 2 so they could really come unstuck this year in a higher league against more potent attacks when they have only added Chris Robertson from Torquay at the back. They really face an uphill battle to stay in the league.
Walsall looked for much of last season as if they had enough to make the playoffs until faultering badly in the final run in. This season Dean Smith will have a tougher job on his hands as his team will have to find a way of compensating for the departures of two key attacking players in 19 goal Will Grigg, and striker Febian Brandy. As of yet Smith doesn’t seem to have signed anyone of the calibre to fill the huge goalscoring void left by these players although Romaine Sawyers does have an eye for goal its hard to predict anything but a tough season.
Wolves have been in free fall in recent seasons after a string of poor managerial appointments and abismal squad unity. However in kenny Jackett, who is now at the helm of molineux operations, they have an astute and steely boss who; going by his track record, knows how to get the best out of his players. They have cleared the squad of a lot of the players that have performed so badly whilst cutting the wage bill considerably. It looks as though they have struck the right balance between releasing and transfering and keeping hold of genuine quality such as Sigurdsson and Sako. Leigh Griffiths could prove to be a real force in this division. Jackett should have the tools at his disposal to deliver a promotion challenge.
Oldham Athletic became the giant killers in the FA Cup last season toppling Liverpool and giving Everton a close scare. However their league position is likely to have increased significance this season after narrowly avoiding the drop last year which would have put an end to their 17 year stay in the division. In Lee Johnson they have the youngest manager in the Football League and in addition to his lack of managerial experience Johnson had a very limited budget to manouvre his squad with. Crowd favourite, Jose Baxter, scored 13 from midfield last term and will need to reproduce those goals as big target man Matt Smith who was so devastating in the FA Cup has moved to Leeds United. In place of his aerial prowess comes the smaller more agile duo of Korey Smith and Adam Rooney who will need to score to ensure Oldhams survival again.