This weekend the English Football League begins and Will Burns provides his antepost selections for League One.
After coming close last year under the inexperienced but impressive rookie boss Neil Harris, losing the playoff final, I can see Millwall clinching promotion this year. They possess some real quality in their squad. Shane Ferguson, formerly of Newcastle United, is the best crosser of the ball throughout the whole division. Gregg Wylde is a good summer addition from Plymouth after scoring 10 and providing six assists in League Two last year. In attack, proven goalscorers Steve Morison (15), Lee Gregory (18) and Aiden O’Brien (10) all managed to notch good figures last season.
At the back, they have their flaws and failing to replace Mark Beevers, who left for Bolton Wanderers, may be a mistake. However, Harris promotes a high-tempo and direct game with a stern 4-4-2 and will be one of the best teams to watch in the league for entertainment. Goals aplenty indeed and if it was not for some quality loanees in the Barnsley side that beat them at Wembley at the conclusion of the last campaign, I would be predicting this team to stay in the Championship this year.
The Lions are a huge price at 11/1 with Bet365 and Millwall are my recommendation to lift the League One trophy come May.
TIP: Millwall to win EFL League One (2PTS placed on 12.00 at Bet365)
Charlton Athletic suffered a painful relegation last season and saw a mass exodus of their top performers and the straining relationship between fans and owner Roland Duchatelet seems like a recipe to disaster. However, I see Charlton bouncing back over the next nine months.
The Belgian landlord has gone through six managers in 818 days but now he has a specialist in working with a shoe-string budget in Russell Slade at the helm. Slade seems to find a winning formula and stick with it through thick and thin and I see Geordie striker Lee Novak being the main reason I am tipping the London side to gain promotion at the first time of asking. Novak scored 15 goals last year on loan at Chesterfield and with new signings Nicky Ajose and Ricky Holmes alongside him creating, I see goals.
As along as the fans can keep the disrupting atmosphere inside The Valley to minimum before we get underway I see Charlton climbing back into the Championship, best priced at 7/2 with Betfred.
TIP: Charlton Athletic to be promoted (1PT placed on 4.50 at Betfred)
With a limited budget, AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley did wonders to earn promotion but can he guide his team to survival? With an aging defence and with hardly any money to strengthen, he may have to rely on loan signings to give the squad some cover, at time of writing, none were forthcoming. An even bigger struggle for Ardley may be trying to keep Jake Reeves or Lyle Taylor before the window slams shut at the end of the month. At 4/1 with SkyBet, this price is far too tempting not to jump on.
Oldham Athletic are favourites to go down and rightly so as the prospects does not look great for the Latics. The Manchester club are screaming out for a benefactor to help out as the financial issues forced club hero John Sherdian to walk out in May. Steve Robinson has been installed in the hotseat but he inherited just six senior professionals just eight weeks ago. The Northern Irishman has brought in a squad but Robinson has an impossible job trying to assemble a cohesive unit to keep Oldham’s head above water.
TIP: AFC Wimbledon to be relegated (1PT placed on 5.00 at SkyBet)
TIP: Oldham Athletic to be relegated (3PTS placed on 2.75 at Betfred)
The aforementioned firepower of Lee Novak will help Charlton challenge for promotion and at 28/1 with Betfair, he has to be worth a small each-way punt.
Last year, promotion contenders Millwall saw Lee Gregory bag 17 goals in their last 25 games of the season as the Lions surged up the division. He is valued at a decent 10/1 with StanJames.com if he can replicate that this term.
TIP: Lee Novak to be League One Top Goalscorer (1PT Each-way placed on 29.00 at Betfair)
TIP: Lee Gregory to be League One Top Goalscorer (1PT Each-way placed on 11.00 at StanJames.com)