League One 17/18 Predictions Part Two (O-W)

Welcome to part two of my League One predictions. Yes, I know, we have had two games and it is utterly scandalous that I should publish what should be a pre-season article two games into the season, but I must reiterate that these predictions were made pre-season.

Part one went down a storm, and if you missed it, follow this link http://alloutfootball.co.uk/league-one-1718-predictions-part-one-n/

Of course, by went down a storm, I mean someone claimed the article was “half finished”, then realised his error and claimed I was “milking it”. What I was milking I am still yet to have answered by the person in question, but we will move on.

Without anymore article-filling dialogue, let’s get straight into part two, from Oldham through to Wigan.

Oldham Athletic

  • Key Player – Brian Wilson
  • One to Watch – Aaron Amadi-Holloway
  • Last Season Finish – 17th

Oldham had a difficult time of it in League One last season and they only escaped relegation due to a late surge after spending most of the campaign in the bottom four. So, you’d think that they would have recruited a range of quality players to avoid the same predicament this season, right? Well, not exactly, they’ve only signed six players, all of whom are fairly unknown. Now, whilst I accept that a well-known name doesn’t always equate to a good player, I really don’t think a couple of youth players from Premier League sides and a past-his-peak striker in Craig Davies will work wonders on the Latics’ form. Aaron Amadi-Holloway has the potential to be the key man for Oldham this season, his goals might be the only hope Oldham have of avoiding the drop. Rather worryingly, they only have one goalkeeper in their side and he is only a loanee. Something isn’t right at Oldham, and I can’t see them staying in the division come May.

Predicted Finish – 24th

Oxford United

  • Key Player – Kane Hemmings
  • One to Watch – Xemi Fernandez
  • Last Season Finish – 8th

Oxford finished just outside the Play-Offs last season after only just being promoted from League Two, a very good finish by any newly promoted teams standards. Now, under new manager Pep Clotet, they only look stronger, having added to their squad and held on to most of their key players. Clotet has signed some top class players, and ones for Oxford fans to get excited about such as Xemi Fernandez, Jack Payne, James Henry and Jon Obika. It is clear that the U’s are going to mount a serious promotion push this season. Oxford’s main issue last season was the amount of games that they lost. They had the second most defeats of any team in the top half of the table last season, meaning they didn’t do as well as they could’ve, and perhaps should’ve. Oxford fans have every reason to be optimistic for this season, and they are definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Predicted Finish – 5th

Peterborough United

  • Key Player – Marcus Maddison
  • One to Watch – Junior Morias
  • Last Season Finish – 11th

The Posh had a bit of a disappointing season last season, finishing 11th in League One, so their fans will be hoping for better this campaign. They’ve certainly made some exciting signings, as well as some experienced heads to add to their squad. Jack Marriott did very well for Luton last season and he will definitely be keen to prove himself in a higher division. They have also added Steven Taylor and Michael Doughty to their side, two players with a wealth of Championship experience. What’s more, they have managed to keep hold of Marcus Maddison, last season’s key man. Junior Morias, who the signed from St Albans in January, looks like he could really develop this season and start scoring on a regular basis. Peterborough have a good amount of depth and that is very important for teams in League One when injures and suspensions take hold in the middle to latter stages. I’m still not sure if a couple of improvements on last season’s squad will do too much to better their league finish, but we will just have to wait and see.

Predicted Finish – 10th

Plymouth Argyle

  • Key Player – Sonny Bradley
  • One to Watch – Jake Jervis
  • Last Season Finish – 2nd (promoted)

Last season’s League Two runners-up more than merited their promotion to League One after a fantastic season, in which they amassed the joint most wins in the league with 26. It came after they narrowly missed out of promotion in the 15/16 season, losing in the Play-Off Final to AFC Wimbledon. But their patience has paid off and now they are preparing for a season in the third tier of English football for the first time since the 10/11 season. Argyle’s fall from grace after back-to-back relegations in 2010 and 2011 saw them spend six seasons in League Two, but now they are back and hoping to steady the ship by staying up this season. To help with this they have signed players with good League One experience such as Jamie Ness and Gregg Wylde as well as Ruben Lameiras from Coventry City. What’s more, they’ve held onto key individuals from last season like Sonny Bradley and Jake Jervis, who will really assist them in their bid to stay up this season.

Predicted Finish – 16th

Portsmouth

  • Key Player – Carl Baker
  • One to Watch – Conor Chaplin
  • Last Season Finish – 1st (promoted)

Rather unusually for a newly promoted side, Portsmouth are one of the favourites for promotion to the Championship this season after the success of winning League Two last season. Pompey had the best defence in the league last season conceding just 40 goals. They managed to turn Fratton Park into a fortress, losing only five times at home. Pompey have always been a team who no one thought should ever be in League Two after their relegation from the Premier League seven years ago which was followed by back-to-back relegations to land them in the fourth tear, sounds very similar to Plymouth. But, as the tenth anniversary of their famous FA Cup win approaches, they will be hoping to celebrate with a successful League One campaign. Carl Baker experienced promotion from League One with MK Dons before, and could be a vital part of Pompey’s season. Conor Chaplin also looks like a very bright spark with potential to set the league alight (excuse that awful pun). The signings of Brett Pitman and Nathan Thompson also look exciting for Portsmouth fans, and with Kenny Jackett at the helm, I can see it be a good season for Portsmouth.

Predicted Finish – 8th

Rochdale

  • Key Player – Ian Henderson
  • One to Watch – Callum Camps
  • Last Season Finish – 9th

Rochdale are preparing for yet another season in League One after establishing themselves as regulars to the division. Last season was good one for Dale, finishing just four points outside of the Play-Off places and as the third highest scoring team in the league. However, the summer window has seen some vital players leave Spotland, such as Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Matthew Lund and Conrad Logan. To try and fill the gaps left by such important players, they signed some interesting players. Matt Done from Sheffield United, Jordan Williams from Barrow and Brad Inman from Peterborough. Despite losing some of their top players, other key men like Callum Camps and Ian Henderson have stayed at the club, Camps is a particularly important player to Rochdale, as his goals won them quite a few games last season. Aside from that, I really don’t feel that Rochdale have anyone capable of creating any kind of success for Rochdale this season. I think a tough season is in front of Rochdale and they will find themselves in a bit of a relegation scrap.

Predicted Finish – 22nd

Rotherham United

  • Key Player – Lee Frecklington
  • One to Watch – David Ball
  • Last Season Finish – 24th (relegated)

Last season was truly abysmal for Rotherham on many levels. They only picked up five wins all season, none of which came away from home, and conceded 98 goals. Inevitably, when you have such a poor season players are going to leave and that’s exactly what happened to Rotherham. Amongst those who departed the club were Danny Ward, Lee Camp, Darnell Fisher and Richard Smallwood. Therefore, the Millers had to use the summer to rebuild a dented squad, and they’ve made a few good signings such as David Ball, Shaun Cummings, Darren Potter and Ryan Williams. David Ball was a key part of Fleetwood’s squad that did so well in the league last season so, unlike some of his teammates, he will have no problem adapting to League One. I think it’s fair to say that Rotherham aren’t going to go straight back up. However, they definitely won’t find themselves in danger of another relegation. The Millers, in my opinion, are destined for mid table.

Predicted Finish – 13th

Scunthorpe United

  • Key Player – Josh Morris
  • One to Watch – Kevin van Veen
  • Last Season Finish – 3rd

Scunthorpe spent most of last season in the automatic promotion places in League One and only came third by four points, with Bolton snatching promotion from under their noses. Scunthorpe only lost three times at Glanford Park last season and, if they hadn’t lost nine times on the road, would’ve probably ended up in the Championship table predictions article on this site. Despite being so good all season, they weren’t able to get through via the Play-Offs either. So this season means back to square one in their quest to escape League One, preferably out of the top exit as oppose to the bottom. They did lose some players in the summer, but no one huge, and they have added to their side with the signings of Rory McArdle, Funso Ojo and Devonte Redmond. I still don’t think they’ve made any big signings capable of ensuring automatic promotion next season, but holding onto players like Kevin van Veen, Josh Morris and Paddy Madden, all of whom were an integral part of their strong season last campaign. In all honesty, I don’t think Scunthorpe will manage to do as well as last season for a while yet, but they will remain a strong outfit in League One.

Predicted Finish – 7th

Shrewsbury Town

  • Key Player – Louis Dodds
  • One to Watch – Lenell John-Lewis
  • Last Season Finish – 18th

Shrewsbury have a habit of struggling to do well in League One, especially in recent seasons, and they lost a lot of players as a result of their low finish last season. During the summer, they had to get in a lot of players and have been very reliant on the loan market, signing a lot of youngsters from Premier League academies. Whilst loanees can be effective, building a team of them never really is. I think that the lack of experience in that Shrewsbury side could prove problematic. They don’t seem to have a lot of quality within their team, and without successful loanee Ivan Toney, who they had last season, I don’t really see much stand out quality in that side. Granted, one of those loan players could make a name for himself this season, but in a team like Shrewsbury, I can’t see it happening. There is also the danger of the loan recall, if one of the loan players does prove to be very good, chances are he will be sent on loan to a better team. This season is going to be a real struggle for the Shrews.

Predicted Finish – 23rd

Southend United

  • Key Player – Ryan Leonard
  • One to Watch – Nile Ranger
  • Last Season Finish – 7th

Southend came so close to the Play-Offs last season, but missed out by finishing a point behind the eventual winners Millwall. Had it been them, would they be playing Championship football? Who knows, but Southend fans will certainly be asking themselves that question. However, they need to leave that in the past now and kick on with the new campaign. Over the window, there haven’t been very many notable outgoings or incomings. Southend have made some solid signings of two experienced Michaels; Turner from Norwich and Kightly from Burnley, both greatly experienced players who have been around the block. They will be encouraged by the return of Nile Ranger from, well….err….prison. Yep, Ranger is back after release from prison for fraud and, love him or hate him, he is a very good footballer at League One level who can easily score a lot of goals (I actually just realised the irony of him having criminal convictions and me putting him as the ‘One to Watch). So, as long as Ranger stays away from dodgy business off the pitch, Southend do have some hope, but this season won’t be as good as the last one by a long shot.

Predicted Finish – 12th

Walsall

  • Key Player – Erhun Oztumer
  • One to Watch – James Wilson
  • Last Season Finish – 14th

Walsall didn’t achieve spectacular things last season, and it was a pretty average season for the Saddlers. Apart from Neil Etheridge leaving the club, there haven’t really been any notable outgoings and the squad is fairly similar to the one that achieved mediocrity last season. The signings of James Wilson and Jon Guthrie are two good additions to a Walsall defence that conceded almost 60 goals last season. For me, Walsall are too reliant on one man, Erhun Oztumer. He is by far their best player and there is still a risk that someone could nab him before the closing of the window, or even in January if he has a good start to the season. Walsall are really going to struggle this season in a division where most sides are getting stronger, and they seem fairly unchanged from last season. Saddlers fans are going to have to be prepared for a difficult campaign.

Predicted Finish – 17th

Wigan Athletic

  • Key Player – Will Grigg
  • One to Watch – Ryan Colclough
  • Last Season Finish – 23rd (relegated)

Like the other two sides to get relegated from the Championship, Wigan lost quite a few players over the summer. To compensate, they signed some players with some good League One experience as well as exciting potential such as Chey Dunkley from Oxford, Noel Hunt, Lee Evans and Ivan Toney. Attack was where Wigan struggled last season, so it’s unsurprising that they have signed the likes of Toney and Hunt to add to an attack which already boasts players like Will Grigg and Omar Bogle. So, what about midfield and at the back? They have quality there, too. I have already mentioned Chey Dunkley and they have other solid defenders like Dan Burn and Nathan Byrne. I think Wigan ooze quality and have a team full of players far too good for League One. Grigg can score a lot of goals at this level as he proved when he helped MK Dons and Wigan to promotion in back-to-back seasons. Also, players like Ryan Colclough are very exciting for Wigan fans, and have, again, proved their worth at this level. With manager Paul Cook at the helm who already has a taste for winning the league, I think the Latics will be League One Champions.

Predicted Finish – 1st

So, that brings my predictions to a close, have a look at the table in full, combined with the predictions made in part one.

  1. Wigan Athletic (P)
  2. Bradford City (P)
  3. Milton Keynes Dons
  4. Bury
  5. Oxford United
  6. Blackburn Rovers (P)
  7. Scunthorpe United
  8. Portsmouth
  9. Charlton Athletic
  10. Peterborough United
  11. Northampton Town
  12. Southend United
  13. Rotherham United
  14. AFC Wimbledon
  15. Bristol Rovers
  16. Plymouth Argyle
  17. Walsall
  18. Doncaster Rovers
  19. Fleetwood Town
  20. Blackpool
  21. Gillingham (R)
  22. Rochdale (R)
  23. Shrewsbury Town (R)
  24. Oldham Athletic (R)

Do you agree with these predictions? Share your own in the comments below!