We assess the best picks for promotion, relegation and more, as English football's third tier gets back under way.
It’s going to be a good year for: Portsmouth
Portsmouth only missed out on automatic promotion following an eight-game winless period between January and February last season.
That run coincided with Ronan Curtis’ loss of form, who scored nine of his 12 goals last season before 2 January.
But the winger had already played six League of Ireland games before moving to Fratton Park last summer, and will surely return refreshed this time around.
Pompey have enjoyed a pragmatic summer since then, with defender Matt Clarke’s move to Brighton the only major confirmed outgoing.
His departure has been covered by the arrival of centre halves Sean Raggett (on loan from Norwich) and Paul Downing (on a free from Blackburn).
Kenny Jackett has also acquired the highly-rated winger Marcus Harness from Burton to cover a potential move for 15-goal Jamal Lowe.
Ellis Harrison and John Marquis’ arrivals from Ipswich and Doncaster respectively give Pompey other options to target man Oli Hawkins and the experienced Brett Pittman.
They weren’t far off last season and marginal improvements mean that they are worth backing to finish top this time around.
Portsmouth to win the League One title
In the mix: Peterborough
You can’t keep Peterborough United and Darren Ferguson apart.
Ferguson has enjoyed the best years of his managerial career at London Road, having won three promotions and the 2013/14 EFL Trophy.
And, following some impressive transfer business, Posh must be taken seriously once again.
They have spent big on nine summer arrivals, including goalkeeper Christy Pym, defender Frankie Kent and forward Mo Eisa, all of whom have impressed in the division below.
But it is the return of George Boyd, who was released by Sheffield Wednesday, that is most noteworthy.
The 33-year-old hasn’t played in the third tier for seven years (when he was last at Peterborough) and will add plenty of quality to their midfield.
They’ve also managed to retain Marcus Maddison, who scored eight goals and topped the League One assist charts last season with 15, amid Championship interest.
Forwards Ivan Toney and Matt Godden, who netted 41 goals between them last time out, also remain at the club and can help fire Peterborough to promotion.
Peterborough to be promoted
Biggest surprise: Lincoln
Lincoln have been upwardly mobile since the arrival of Danny and Nicky Cowley.
The brothers, who are manager and assistant manager respectively, have led the Imps from mid-table in the National League to League One in three seasons, with two league titles and an EFL Trophy along the way.
Some eye-catching transfers mean they could be in for another impressive season.
Playmakers Jack Payne and Jorge Grant have both moved to Sincil Bank over summer from Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest respectively, and are both an upgrade on Danny Rowe and Shay McCartan, who rotated the number 10 role last year.
Payne’s creativity was one of few positives in a dreadful campaign for Bradford City last season, while Grant has earned his chance in League One after impressing on loan at Notts County and Mansfield.
In a division that lacks many standout teams, Lincoln should not just be content with consolidation.
Lincoln to finish in the top six
Most likely flop: Sunderland
Sunderland’s campaign last term was punctuated by an inability to finish games off as they struggled to create clear goalscoring opportunities.
Jack Ross’ side drew 19 of their 46 league games – more than any other side in League One – while they ranked 14th for shots per match (experimental361).
Their over-reliance on Aiden McGeady was telling, with little creativity elsewhere in the squad.
That the Black Cats have tried to remedy that problem by bringing in poacher Marc McNulty on loan from Reading seems strange, especially given their £4m outlay on Will Grigg in January.
There have been no other attacking reinforcements and their team once again looks short of individuals capable of unlocking a rigid defence.
Having also decided to retain Ross as manager, despite his inability to fashion any discernible style of football, it looks like being another disappointing season for the Mackems.
Sunderland to finish outside the top six
It’s going to be a tough season for: Bury and Bolton, obviously
Bury and Bolton have both had a miserable summer of unpaid wages, cancelled friendlies and points deductions.
The clubs will start on -12 points and it’s difficult to see how either can stay up, should they manage to remain in existence.
The Shakers have already had their opening fixture against MK Dons postponed after failing to satisfy the EFL that the club is financially viable.
They have lost manager Ryan Lowe, three members of their backroom staff and 11 first-team players, and have made no replacement signings.
Bolton, meanwhile, currently have seven contracted senior players – a total that includes two goalkeepers and no defenders.
Wanderers’ opener away to Wycombe has been allowed to go ahead with a takeover expected soon.
But, with less than a month of the transfer window to go, major improvements are not guaranteed.
Bury to be relegated
Top of the charts: Freddie Ladapo
Ladapo finished sixth in last season’s League One goalscoring charts, netting 18 times for relegated Plymouth.
That was enough to convince Rotherham to spend a club-record £500,000 on the 26-year-old, who will surely benefit from playing in a better team.
The Millers had the seventh-most shots of any team in the Championship despite being relegated last season, indicating that Ladapo will get plenty of opportunities this time around.
He is also likely to play alongside target man Michael Smith, so should have plenty of knock-downs to feed off.
Freddie Ladapo to be League One top goalscorer
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