So the time is nearly upon us and after a long summer, the English Football League is on our doorstep. Hopes will be high as each team believes they have done enough to achieve their aims for the coming season, but in this article we look at who we think the contenders will be for a spot in League One come the end of this campaign and who is likely to lose their spot in the Football League.
The Contenders for Promotion
Champions: Notts County
Okay, so if you have already read our predictions for who will go on and win the league title, then you will know that we fancy Notts County to be playing their football in the third tier at the start of the 2019 season. Under the stewardship of boss Kevin Nolan, they have had a strong summer in the transfer market and appear to have an excellent mix of youth and experience. If they fail to win the title, then we remain convinced they will claim one of the four promotion spots at the end of the season.
Runners Up: MK Dons
It is not often a side is able to bounce back from two relegations in three seasons and win one of their promotions back at the first attempt, but that is exactly what we think will happen with MK Dons this season. The MK Dons chairman, Pete Winkelman, has since held his hands up at what he described as two poor managerial appointments, but he appears to have acted pretty shrewdly in bringing Paul Tisdale to the club as the new man in charge.
Tisdale left his role as the longest-serving manager in the country at Exeter City following the Grecians second successive play-off final defeat and after 12 years on the south coast, he has left for a rolling contract at Milton Keynes. The club will not be completely foreign to him though as Robbie Simpson, Ryan Harley and Jordan Moore-Taylor have all joined him from Exeter.
Third Place: Lincoln City
The Cowley Brothers have turned down the attentions of a handful of sides in the Championship to stay loyal to the side that gave them their chance, Lincoln City. It has been quite the ride so far as the brothers have brought Lincoln back into the Football League and, even though they have upset the odds in the FA Cup, last season they managed to add more silverware to the trophy cabinet as they secured the Checkatrade Trophy.
They have been pretty active in the transfer market too and the addition of John Akinde looks to be a particularly shrewd piece of business. It is not just up front where they have strengthened though as they signiture of talented full-back Harry Toffolo, alongside the loan signings of Shay McCartan, who excelled at this level with Accrington, and Scott Wharton, has added quality all over the pitch.
Play Off Winners: Port Vale
There is unlikely to be much arguement in the judgement that the last two seasons have been troublesome for Port Vale, but since the appointment of former captain Neil Aspin, most would agree that things have taken an upward turn. Vale were adrift towards the foot of the league before Aspin took the reigns, but under his stewardship he managed to turn things around and retain their status in the Football League.
A major source of concern for Port Vale last season was found between the sticks and five different goalkeepers were used. Aspin has sought to take action to address this with the signature of experienced shot stopper Scott Brown, and although he brought in a total of 10 players over the summer, Aspin got his business done early to allow his squad as much time as possible to gel.
Our Picks for Relegation
It has not exactly been the best 12 months for Oldham as they suffered relegation from League One and after a summer of off-field uncertainty, which included a petition to wind up the club from HMRC and reports of unpaid wages, it appears as though the battle is only just beginning.
Abdallah Lemsagam’s purchase of the club has not exactly been a smooth transition and although he has spoken of allowing the manager to run the squad his own way, the mistakes he made last season will still be fresh in the memory of the fans. Frankie Bunn is an inexperienced manager and other than the signing of Jose Baxter, there has been little news from the transfer market for Latics fans to get excited about.