2021/22 League One preview: Best bets for outright markets
We assess the best picks for the 2021/22 League One title, relegation and more ahead of the season getting under way on Saturday.
Turning things around after years underperforming is tough, but Ipswich have made a good start by hiring Paul Cook and making a series of impressive signings.
Cook was in charge at the end of last season, so was well aware of what needed addressing at Portman Road, and has the squad to win his second League One title in five years.
Rakeem Harper and Scott Fraser will form a midfield partnership that would not look out of place in the Championship, while Conor Chaplin and Joe Pigott are two strong offensive signings.
Ipswich have too much financial power to remain in League One for long, and they look well set to make their third season at this level their last.
Lincoln took the lead before losing last season’s League One play-off final to Blackpool, so only need to make minor adjustments in order to go one better this time around.
And, like Ipswich, their transfer business seems to have improved them.
Teddy Bishop, Chris Maguire and Dan Nlundulu are all stand-out acquisitions, and should more than cover the deficit in creativity caused by the sale of Jorge Grant to Peterborough.
Most importantly, Michael Appleton, who is an impressive coach at lower-league level, looks likely to be involved from the off after suffering from illness this summer.
TOP-SIX FINISH: AFC Wimbledon
AFC Wimbledon are on the up, and can go well enough to give us a good run for our money for a top-six finish at a big price.
The Dons were the sixth-best team in League One across the last 10 games of last season, playing some fantastic football under the pressure of a relegation battle to win games 5-1, 4-1 and 3-0.
Manager Mark Robinson had his side playing an attractive style that can see them push into the top half of the table, with summer signings Luke McCormick (Chelsea), George Marsh (Tottenham) and Aaron Pressley (Brentford) also accustomed to possession-based football.
They are a fun team to watch and can cause a few surprises this season with a bit of consistency.
Cambridge won promotion from League Two last season despite all underlying performance numbers suggesting that they weren’t a good enough side to do so.
The U’s took the 10th-most shots in the division and conceded the seventh-most – numbers that you would usually associate with a mid-table team.
The form of Paul Mullin – who scored 32 goals, 13 more than the next-highest goalscorer – was a big reason for their overperformance, but he has left for non-league Wrexham.
Without such an in-form forward, Cambridge look set to be an average League Two team trying to compete at a level higher, and will likely be relegated.
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