There is a distinctly northern feel to League One this season, especially when you look at the favourites to win the division. Time will tell whether Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United’s odds are down to the stature of the club or the quality of the team on the pitch, although punters are including the Owls and the Blades in their pre-season accumulators.
However, Huddersfield Town could be the team to beat and they are priced at 11/2 (bet365 – £200 free bets). Lee Clark was recruited two seasons ago and has led the Terriers into the play-offs on both occasions, losing to Millwall the first time around and then suffering a 3-0 final defeat against Peterborough last May. Huddersfield can count on strong support at the Galpharm and the goals of Jordan Rhodes should help them go fairly close.
Meanwhile, Wednesday are a best price 7/1 (Ladbrokes – £30 free betting) and Gary Megson will be looking for a fresh start in his first full season as Owls manager. There is a nagging doubt that this time might struggle for goals, with Clinton Morrison having departed although David Prutton should be a good midfield linchpin.
As for United, there were several angry supporters down at Bramall Lane during the summer after the club confirmed that Danny Wilson would be replacing Micky Adams as manager. The former Sheffield Wednesday player and manager faces an Alex McLeish-like attempt to endear himself to supporters, although the Blades can be backed at 10/1 (Ladbrokes).
The fourth northern team among the favourites is Preston North End (8/1 Ladbrokes) and you would certainly think that Phil Brown could operate effectively as manager at this level. The former Hull manager achieved great initial success with the Tigers and could do nothing about the Lancashire team’s nosedive out of the Championship last season.
The southern challenge is spearheaded by Charlton Athletic who are priced at 9/1 (William Hill) to win League One and there has been some considerable investment at The Valley during the summer. Bradley Wright-Phillips should be rich source of goals for the Addicks, although Chris Powell’s team did tail off badly towards the end of the season.
Brentford are another team who have been heavily backed ahead of the new season and the Bees will be led into the new campaign by Uwe Rosler, the German former Manchester City striker who is something of an unknown quantity. The 20/1 about the west London team has disappeared and they are now 16/1 (Hills) to finish top of the tree.
Other teams that might go well in League One next season are MK Dons (18/1 Ladbrokes), Scunthorpe United (20/1 William Hill) and we shouldn’t discount the possibility that Carlisle United (50/1 Hills) will finally manage to replicate their excellent Johnstone’s Paint trophy performances on a consistent basis.