The football season is back! It doesn’t seem long since Norwich were wrapping up victory and securing their place in the Premier League at Wembley, but we’re already on the eve of another frenetic season across all 4 divisions. Here’s our suggestion for a football league 4-fold.
Bolton v Derby
I’ve not been impressed with Bolton’s summer business, but similar to their North West neighbours Blackburn, they’ve had to use the cash sparingly and recruit players on a budget. Gary Madine scored a few goals in the Championship with Blackpool, but they’ve lost a number of key players and could be in for a long hard campaign. Meanwhile, Derby have been splashing the cash like it’s going out of fashion. Paul Clement has been allowed to bring in a number of top class performers including Darren Bent, Andreas Weimann & Jason Shackell. Whether they gel remains to be seen, but they should collectively and individually be too much for Bolton at the Macron Stadium.
Chesterfield v Barnsley
Chesterfield have suffered from a mass exodus, not only has their manager upped sticks and left for Portsmouth, but playmaker Gary Roberts followed and Sam Clucas was snapped up by Hull. Tendayi Darikwa has headed to Lancashire along with Jimmy Ryan who joins League One rivals Fleetwood. It’s a shame for a side who were so full of youth, talent and had tremendous promise, but they are in a new era now and I think they will struggle against a Barnsley side who are on the up. Lee Johnson gets his chance for a full season in charge and should be able to put his stamp on things. If he can get Sam Winnall back and scoring, along with talented midfield Connor Hourihane & new signing Alfie Mawson, they have an impressive starting 11. I think they’ll have too much for their opponents.
Cambridge v Newport
Cambridge were the big spenders of the summer in League Two and there is added pressure on them to achieve promotion as a result. Richard Money has added Mark Roberts and Leon Legge at the back, both of whom were playing in League One last season. Barry Corr, fresh from winning the play-offs with Southend has dropped back down to League Two. Luke Berry also returns from Barnsley and it’s an exciting season for U’s fans. Newport have changed manager and had a mass clearout of the squad which got promoted to this level. Butcher has a poor record in England and his side don’t look promotion material, many joining from the Conference/National League and will have to adjust to league level. Cambridge should be too strong for the Exiles
Oxford v Crawley
Another one of the ante-post favourites are Oxford. They have signed successfully and Michael Appleton has assembled a handy looking starting 11. The signing of Kemar Roofe is significant as he was prolific towards the end of the season and he will prove a useful addition. Crawley have Mark Yates in charge, who was sacked by struggling Cheltenham and there’s no doubt he knows the league, but Crawley will be in the bottom half come May. Simon Walton is a decent addition to the midfield and they will be hard to beat, but Oxford should have too much for them here.
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