From Portsmouth to Sunderland, Coventry to Ipswich – League One journalists have their say on season ahead

League One reporters associated with every club in the division have been having their say on the season ahead.

Monday, 29th July 2019, 4:30 pm
Updated Monday, 29th July 2019, 4:37 pm
Pompey winger Ronan Curtis in pre-season action against Stevenage

Here we get a rundown on the transfer business conducted by each team over the course of the summer – and each journalist’s evaluation of what’s in store for their side over the 2019-20 campaign.


Richard Cawley (South London Press)

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Club: AFC Wimbledon

New arrivals: Nesta Guiness-Walker, Luke O’Neill, Nathan Trott, Adam Roscrow, Michael Folivi.

Major departures: Toby Sibbick, James Hanson, Deji Oshilaja, Andy Barcham.

One to watch: Joe Pigott.

Pompey winger Ronan Curtis in pre-season action against Stevenage

Expectations: Anything above mid-table will be a bonus. Had decent form at end of last season as they clicked under Downes - but budget makes it a challenge.


Adam Lord (Lancashire Telegraph)

Club: Accrington Stanley

James Norwood moved from Tranmere to Ipswich in the summer Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

New arrivals: Joe Pritchard, Colby Bishop, Joe Maguire, Ben Barkley, Wilson Carvalho, Zaine Francis-Angol.

Major departures: Johnny Maxted, Scott Brown, Ben Richards-Everton, Piero Mingoia.

One to watch: Sean McConville.

Expectations: Having beaten Marseille in the summer, surely the title is within Accy’s grasp! Seriously, Coleman will be aiming high but a lot might hinge on whether they can find goals or get Billy Kee back involved.


Matt Scrafton (Blackpool Gazette)

Club: Blackpool

New arrivals: Jak Alnwick, Jamie Devitt, Ryan Edwards, Ryan Hardie, Sullay Kaikai, Ben Tollitt, Adi Yussuf.

Major departures: Not a departure as such but last season’s loanee, Ben Heneghan, will be a big miss.

Jimmy Ryan and Donervon Daniels are among those to have left the club over the summer on free transfers.

Other than that, Pool have managed to keep the core of its squad together and haven't required a single trialist this summer - which is quite the rarity for the Seasiders.

One to watch: Sullay Kaikai.

Expectations: New owner Simon Sadler is targeting promotion but, after recent upheaval, the club is in no rush and will be satisfied if it comes within the next two to three years.

A play-off finish should satisfy the returning locals in what is a new dawn for the football club.


Marc Iles (The Bolton News)

Club: Bolton Wanderers

New arrivals: None (as yet).

Major departures: Everyone. Bolton only have half a dozen senior players as things stand.

One to watch: Dennis Politic.

Expectations: Wanderers will start on minus-12 points, bare minimum, so job one is to get away from the relegation zone.

Most fans would settle for stability and a cup run.


Adam Goodwin (Bristol Live)

Club: Bristol Rovers

New arrivals: Anssi Jaakkola, Jordi van Stappershoef, Mark Little, Josh Hare, Tom Davies, Luke Leahy and Tyler Smith.

Major departures: Tom Lockyer, Adam Davies, Chris Lines, Stuart Sinclair and Stefan Payne.

One to watch: Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Expectations: Hard to tell how Coughlan will do after just six months as a manager, but has done some good business this window.

Mid-table is what's expected, but who's ruling out a play-off push?


Joshua Murray (Burton Mail/Derbyshire Live) Club: Burton Albion

New arrivals: John-Joe O'Toole, Richard Nartey (loan), Kieran O'Hara (loan), Ryan Edwards, Jevan Anderson

Major departures: Marcus Harness (Portsmouth), Jamie Allen (Coventry City), Kyle McFadzean (Coventry City).

One to watch: Scott Fraser.

Expectations: Nigel Clough and his players are talking about a promotion push and ensuring they are in contention for the top six deep into the season.


Marc Iles (The Bury Times)

Club: Bury

New arrivals: None (as yet).

Major departures: Five players have quit to join Ryan Lowe at Plymouth – Danny Mayor, Dom Telford, Byron Moore, Callum McFadzean and Will Aimson. Several more have left during a summer of massive financial problems at Gigg Lane.

One to watch: Harry Bunn.

Expectations: As hot favourites for relegation and with no real squad to speak of, anything but relegation will surely be viewed as a shock for the Shakers.


Andy Turner (Coventry Telegraph/CoventryLive)

Club: Coventry City

New arrivals: Kyle McFadzean, Jamie Allen, Marko Marosi, Ben Wilson, Michael Rose, Fankaty Dabo, Gervane Kastaneer, Wesley Jobello, Josh Pask, Dan Bartlett.

Major departures: Jordan Willis, Lee Burge, Tom Davies, Jack Grimmer, Liam O'Brien, Conor Chaplin, Bright Enobakhare, David Meyler, Luke Thomas and Dujon Sterling.

One to watch: Wesley Jobello.

Expectations: The club have made no secret of the fact that they are looking at the play-offs as a minimum and would, ideally, like to push for automatic promotion, firmly believing they have taken the quality of the squad up a notch after a productive summer in the transfer market.


Liam Hoden (Doncaster Free Press/Sheffield Star)

Club: Doncaster Rovers

New arrivals: Brad Halliday, Reece James, Madger Gomes.

Major departures: Andy Butler, Tommy Rowe, Danny Andrew, Marko Marosi.

One to watch: Ben Whiteman.

Expectations: It’ll be difficult to replicate last season’s success and the run to the play-off semi-finals but the arrival of Darren Moore has sent levels of optimism sky-rocketing. 


Rosie Swarbrick (Blackpool Gazette) 

Club: Fleetwood Town

New arrivals: Lewie Coyle, Harry Souttar, Jordan Rossiter, Paul Coutts, Danny Andrew, Josh Morris.

Major departures: Ched Evans, Ashley Nadesan, Ross Wallace.

One to watch: Josh Morris.

Expectations: Given the captures of Morris, Andrew and Coutts, on paper this looks like a team that should finish in the top six.

On paper, this is a better squad than the team that finished fourth in 2016-17. A few more additions and a replacement for Ched Evans and this could be something special.

But do not forget the off field drama. Boss Barton will be in court on October 9 to answer assault charges after an incident in the tunnel at Barnsley in April.


Luke Cawdell (Kent Online)

Club: Gillingham

New arrivals: Connor Ogilvie, Jack Bonham, Lee Hodson, Stuart O'Keefe, Matty Willock, Ouss Cisse, Mikael Ndjoli, Nathan Thomas, Alfie Jones, Mark Marshall.

Major departures: Tom Eaves, Tomas Holy, Luke O'Neill, Alex Lacey, Billy Bingham, Nathan Thomas.

One to watch: Mikael Ndjoli.

Expectations: Survival is usually the aim but optimism is in the air. Many fans were unhappy with Steve Evans' appointment as manager but he's winning them around and some promising signings have given cause to suggest the Gills might give the play-offs a shot. 


Stuart Watson (East Anglian Daily Times/Ipswich Star)

Club: Ipswich Town

New arrivals: James Norwood, Tomas Holy, Luke Garbutt

Major departures: Ellis Harrison sold to rivals Portsmouth. Seven senior players released (including Danish international Jonas Knudsen) and six loans expired (including virtual ever-presents last season Matthew Pennington and Trevoh Chalobah).

One to watch: James Norwood. 

Expectations: Hard to say given this is unchartered territory. A losing habit to shake, a young squad still learning on the job and a target on their backs.

However, this still looks a strong squad for League One and Paul Lambert has galvanised the fan base. Ultimately, finishing outside the top six would have to be seen as a failure.


Mark Whiley (Lincolnshire Echo/Lincolnshire Live)

Club: Lincoln City

New arrivals: Jorge Grant, Jack Payne, Joe Morrell, Alex Bradley.

Major departures: James Wilson.

One to watch: Jack Payne.

Expectations: Expectations have been sky high over the last few seasons given the club’s success. I think people are being quite realistic about this campaign and everyone would take a mid-table finish and Danny Cowley will like being the underdog again.

But after an incredible three years – it would be foolish to rule anything out.


Toby Lock (Milton Keynes Citizen)

Club: MK Dons

New arrivals: Hiram Boateng, Brennan Dickenson, Joe Mason, Jordan Bowery, Regan Poole, Laurie Walker

Major departures: Chuks Aneke.

One to watch: Alex Gilbey.

Expectations: I think most would be absolutely fine with a comfortable mid-table finish, but the mentality will naturally be to push for a play-off spot, capitalising on their momentum coming up.


David Pritchard (Oxford Mail)

Club: Oxford United

New arrivals: Alex Rodriguez Gorrin, Tariqe Fosu, Chris Cadden.

Major departures: Curtis Nelson, plus the loans of Jerome Sinclair, Marcus Browne, Ahmed Kashi, Luke Garbutt and Jordan Graham.

One to watch: Gavin Whyte (if he stays).

Expectations: Up in the air at the moment while the wait goes on to get incoming deals over the line. The minimum supporters will want is to avoid a repeat of last season – keep clear of the relegation battle and stay out of financial trouble.   


Alan Swann (Peterborough Telegraph)

Club: Peterborough United

New arrivals: Christy Pym, Mark Beevers, Dan Butler, Niall Mason, Frankie Kent, Serhat Tasdemir, Mo Eisa, Frazer Blake-Tracy.

Major departures: No-one yet, although Lee Tomlin, Ben White and Josh Knight all returned to parent clubs after decent loan spells.

One to watch: Siriki Dembele

Expectations: I'd be disappointed if they don't finish in the top six. There are some at the club who fancy a top two finish.


Neil Allen (Portsmouth News)

Club: Pompey

New arrivals: James Bolton, Paul Downing, Sean Raggett, Ross McCrorie, Ryan Williams, Ellis Harrison, Marcus Harness.

Major departures: Matt Clarke, Nathan Thompson.

One to watch: Ronan Curtis.

Expectations: Pompey last term led the table at Christmas but frustratingly trailed off. Regardless, they finished with 88 points and reached the play-offs. The pressure is on Kenny Jackett to build on that - and earn promotion.


Mike Minay (BBC Radio Manchester)

Club: Rochdale

New arrivals: Rekeil Pyke, Rhys Norrington-Davies

Major departures: Daniel Adshead, Brad Inman, Kgosi Ntlhe, Jordan Williams.

One to watch: Ian Henderson.

Expectations: They’ve had two seasons of fighting off relegation so fans will happily take a mid-table finish.


Paul Davis (The Rotherham Advertiser)

Club: Rotherham United

New arrivals: Freddie Ladapo, Carlton Morris, Shaun MacDonald, Daniel Barlaser, Julien Lamy, Matthew Olosunde.

Major departures: Will Vaulks, Semi Ajayi.

One to watch: Freddie Ladapo. 

Expectations: Rotherham will be big, powerful, fit, fast and hard-working under Warne. They have added significantly to their strikeforce. It will be a disappointment if they're not in and around the play-off places.


Lewis Cox (Shropshire Star)

Club: Shrewsbury Town

New arrivals: Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Daniel Udoh, Steve Morison, Aaron Pierre, Ryan Giles, Joe Murphy, Max O'Leary, Donald Love, Luke McCormick.

Major departures: Mat Sadler, James Bolton, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Lee Angol, Ryan Haynes, Alex Gilliead, Steve Arnold.

One to watch: Ryan Giles.

Expectations: To improve greatly on last season's 18th-placed finish where survival was secured on the penultimate weekend. Mid-table would be decent, any better a good job. Rests on how well new signings do.


Chris Phillips (Southend Echo)

Club: Southend United

New arrivals: Brandon Goodship, Mark Milligan and Nathan Ralph.

Major departures: Taylor Moore and Sam Hart returned to their parent clubs after completing loan spells. Michael Kightly retired.

One to watch: Stephen Humphrys.

Expectations: To do much better than last season. I think most people will see a top-half finish as a success.


Richard Mennear (Sunderland Echo)

Club: Sunderland AFC

New arrivals: Jordan Willis, Conor McLaughlin, Lee Burge, Marc McNulty, George Dobson.

Major departures: Lee Cattermole, Lamine Kone, Donald Love.

One to watch: Elliot Embleton. 

Expectations: Automatic promotion. The squad and coaching staff know exactly what League One will throw at them. They have added well so far with a few more to come in. No major departures, squad looks balanced and well placed for promotion charge.


Tom Cavilla (Liverpool Echo)

Club: Tranmere Rovers.

New arrivals: George Ray, Calum Woods, Kieron Morris, Sid Nelson, Corey Blackett-Taylor, Ishmael Miller, Stefan Payne, Darren Potter, Jordan Ponticelli.

Major departures: James Norwood, Steve McNulty.

One to watch: Paul Mullin.

Expectations: Tough one to call. Tranmere were newly-promoted last season and did the unthinkable. Can’t see it happening this time without Norwood, so staying up is the priority. Predicting somewhere between 12th- 17th.


Nicholas Tunney (Bucks Free Press)

Club: Wycombe Wanderers

New arrivals: Alex Pattison, Jack Grimmer, Jacob Gardiner-Smith, Giles Phillips, Paul Smyth and Jamie Mascoll.

Major departures: Paris Cowan-Hall and Michael Harriman were among six to leave over the summer. 

One to watch: Dominic Gape.

Expectations: Staying up again would be amazing but with the news over new potential investment, don’t be surprised if Wycombe can finish higher than last season.