The Sky Bet League One Preview 2018-19:
Time for Charlie Higbury to take a look a little further down the leagues and see who might represent a bit of value in the Skybet 1 League. Here are his thoughts for 2018-19
Last season saw Deja–vu for Sunderland as they were relegated for a second successive season much to the shock of football fans and the delight of every single Newcastle fan on the planet. Its been a torrid time at the Wearside but there is light at the end of the tunnel as Sunderland head into the new season making signings left, right and centre, which will hopefully bring some light back to the Stadium of Light as well. Sunderland have signed players such as Jack Baldwin, an experienced player in the League with Peterborough and with his best years ahead of him it’s a good and needed acquisition for Sunderland. They have also signed Glenn Loovens on a free from Sheffield Wednesday and I’m sure as an experienced centre half, the Dutchman will have no problems settling into Sunderland’s backline. Being the largest club in the League and having a large support this season with 21,650 season tickets being sold, the Black Cats look to be a certain bet to bring home the title and go straight back up.
Top 3 Players: Cattermole, Wyke, Honeyman
Bet365 Odds for Title: Evens – 5 units win
After only getting promoted from League Two the season before, Portsmouth had a strong year last season finishing 8th and narrowly missing out on the play-off places. However, after keeping the core of the squad intact and adding Lee Brown as well as Tom Naylor to the squad, Pompey look to be in with a shout of taking the League title as they continue their rise back to glory. Portsmouth also have a die hard fanbase and this should be advantageous in the league as it could give the added boost and confidence the players need to win tough games throughout the season and provide much needed revenue, so in January they can sign more players if they are in with a shout at the title.
Top 3 Players: Pitman, Bennett and Thompson
Bet365 Odds for Title: 9/2 2 units e/w
Underdogs – they could be tricky!
Shrewsbury came incredibly close to gaining promotion last year, finishing third and falling at the last hurdle to Rotherham after extra time at Wembley. Shrewsbury have done some good business this term signing former Newcastle winger Alex Gilliead together with Aaron Holloway from Oldham, as they look to again challenge for the title. They had a very good team spirit last season and if it continues even with the likes of Sunderland, Charlton and Portsmouth all thrown into the mix, there is no reason why they can’t battle for the play-offs this year.
Top 3 players: Ogogo, Lowe and Sadler
Bet365 Odds for Play-offs: 11/2 2 units win
Being one of the stronger sides in League 1 Charlton didn’t really perform last year narrowly getting into the play-off places and subsequently not getting promoted into the championship after they lost out in the play-off semi finals. However, even after losing key players such as Kashi and the retiring Johnnie Jackson, as well as Josh Magennis, for me Charlton still have a relatively strong squad that I can see pushing for the play-offs once again. Charlton are one of the richer sides in the league so if things turn sour before January I’m sure they can bail themselves out by buying some top talent in the winter window.
Top 3 Players: Vetokele, Pearce and Bauer
Bet365 Odds for Play-offs: 11/4 – 2 units win
Accrington Stanley – the club that wouldn’t die, after getting promoted last season most pundits expect them to go straight back down and again if they didn’t this would truly be “The Great Escape”. Accrington simply don’t have the funds for the league to be able to compete with clubs like Sunderland, Charlton and Peterborough to name a few. Moreover with only making three signings this window, I don’t believe they have the quality to stay up. In saying that, they still have Billy Kee and if he can find the form he had last season in this more competitive league then anything could happen. For all us neutral’s sake Accrington prove us wrong!
Top 3 players: Kee, Mcconville and Rawson
Bet365 Odds to Go Down: 5/4 – 4 units win
Another team that got promoted last year after a brilliant season which saw them clinch automatic promotion from third place. However Wycombe haven’t really done a lot of business this window and after Luke O’Nien left to go to Sunderland their squad seems to be considerably weaker than the rest of the League. Again its simply a case of money and Wycombe don’t really have enough of it at their disposal, but if Wycombe’s weapon The BEAST – aka, Adebayo Akinfenwa can find form in front of goal then again similarly to Accrington they can definitely stay up. Also Wycombe securing the services of Ryan Allsop will surely settle things between the sticks. sadly I think all of that is too big an ask.
Top 3 Players: Akinfenwa, Saunders and Jacobson
Bet365 Odds to Go Down:6/4 – 2 units win