Burton boss gives his verdict on Portsmouth, Ipswich, Bolton and Rotherham's League One promotion chances next season
Burton boss Nigel Clough is certain Pompey will be challenging for automatic promotion again next season.
The Blues suffered 1-0 play-off semi-final defeat to Sunderland last month.
It means Kenny Jackett’s men are confined to a third successive season in League One, with the boss back to the drawing board as he plots another Championship charge this summer.
Rotherham, Ipswich and Bolton join Pompey in the third tier after they were relegated, while Luton, Bury, MK Dons and Tranmere went up from League Two.
Clough believes next term’s League One promotion race wil be extremely competitive.
He feels there will be at least five sides who all have designs on a top-two finish.
And the Brewers manager is adamant the Blues will be one of those teams in the shake up.
Clough told Derbyshire Live: ‘You think Doncaster will try to take it on, Portsmouth certainly will, Ipswich coming down will fancy their chances.
‘Bolton will start with a 12-point deduction, Rotherham are going to be strong because they will keep the same sort of squad.
‘So I would say straight away you've got Portsmouth, Rotherham, Ipswich and Doncaster and Peterborough – I was very impressed with them the last day of the season .
‘I hope we can be up there challenging with them, but it's going to be a strong division again.
‘Tranmere are just coming up from the Conference, that's the momentum thing again.’
Clough also hasn’t ruled out Lincoln clinching back-to-back promotions – like Luton did last season.
He added: ‘The one I wouldn't rule out as well is Lincoln in terms of going for it.
‘They've got the financial clout and having seen what Luton have done, I think they will fancy their chances of doing that.’