2022/23 League One preview: Best bets for outright markets
We assess the best picks for promotion, top six and relegation in the 2022/23 League One season.
Promoted: MK Dons
In the second half of last season, MK Dons picked up 50 points – more than any other team in League One – taking them from seventh to third, just a point behind second-placed Rotherham.
Although they were ultimately beaten by Wycombe in the play-off semi-final and subsequently lost 20-goal striker Scott Twine to Burnley, they are in good shape to have another good crack.
Crucially, MK have kept hold of manager Liam Manning and sporting director Liam Sweeting, meaning recruitment has once again been solid.
Their eye-catching signings include 19-year-old midfielder Louie Barry, once of Barcelona, who comes in on loan from Aston Villa after impressing with Swindon last term with six goals in 14 matches.
Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming has signed on loan again after spending the second half of last season at Stadium MK and remains one of the best stoppers in League One.
Elsewhere, Will Grigg rejoins the club and he should be backed to get on the end of the multiple chances his creative team-mates will produce.
Top-six finish: Bolton
Taking Bolton’s ninth-place finish last season at face value, there is little to suggest they should be backed for a play-off tilt this term.
But when you consider Ian Evatt only got his side playing in the second half of the season – they took 47 points from the final 22 matches – they are objectively a side with momentum.
Under Evatt, Wanderers will always be an exciting watch. They had the third-highest xG from open play last season and with attacking talent like Dion Charles, Dapo Afolayan and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, that will surely continue.
Don’t be disappointed if Bolton are underperforming before the turn of the year, though. They have a habit of leaving it late.
Along with last season’s second-half surge, they did something similar in 2020/21 when they were promoted from League Two, accruing 51 points from their final 22 matches.
In Ben Garner, Charlton have a manager with something to prove at League One level.
His only involvement at this level up to now has been an 11-month stint with Bristol Rovers, where his win ratio was just 18 per cent.
Ultimately, he was sacked and appeared at League Two Swindon eight months later, where he guided them to last season’s play-off semi-final.
With him joining a club like Charlton, which has been beset with recent disappointment, not least a 13th-placed finish last season when most expected a promotion challenge, there are plenty of risks from both sides.
Garner has raided his former club for talent over summer, with goalkeeper Jojo Wollacott, full back Mandela Egbo and playmaker Jack Payne all moving to The Valley.
But given that Swindon were sixth-placed in League Two last season, a point away from dropping out of the play-off places, they might not turn out to be too impressive a league above.
At this price, Charlton represent great value for the drop.
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