League One Guide
As the big kick-off approaches, Sky Sports gives you the lowdown on each and every club in the Sky Bet League One.
Last Updated: 01/08/13 4:15pm
Sky Bet League One promises to provide its most competitive campaign in years as a host of strong sides, old and new, battle for superiority in 2013/14.
Last season, only Doncaster made an immediate return to the Championship following relegation - continuing a trend which has seen no more than one team bounce straight back to the second tier in nine out of the last 10 years.
At the other end of the table, none of the four promoted teams from League Two were relegated last term - going against the grain of recent years gone by, also suggesting England's fourth tier is closing the gap in quality.
Not only will newcomers Gillingham, Port Vale, Rotherham and Bradford look to hold their own next season but they also boast the potential to compete in the top half of the table.
Meanwhile, Wolves, Bristol City and Peterborough are coming down each with genuine ambitions to be right up there among the promotion candidates.
Throw in Uwe Rosler's Brentford, sleeping giants Sheffield United and resurgent Swindon - all of who missed out in the play-offs last year - and it makes the 2013/14 campaign one to really excite - with the potential to be even closer than the 10 points which separated first from sixth in 2012/13.
Also in the mix are sure to be the likes of MK Dons and Preston, who are heading in the right direction under Karl Robinson and Simon Grayson respectively.
The bookmakers have Kenny Jackett's Wolves as title favourites - as they compete in the third tier for the first time since 1989 after back-to-back relegations - closely followed by Peterborough, Sheffield United, Brentford and Bristol City.
Coventry have endured a turbulent summer having spent it in administration and under a transfer embargo, while the crisis club have announced they will be groundsharing with Northampton at Sixfields Stadium for at least the next three years from the start of next term.
At the wrong end of League One, Colchester, Oldham, Stevenage, Carlisle and Shrewsbury were all involved in a relegation dogfight last year and survived.
Yet with the division becoming stronger they may well find themselves down there battling to avoid the drop once more and will be happy to find themselves safely in mid-table next May.
And that is where you are sure to find Walsall, minus star forwards Will Grigg and Jamie Paterson, as well as Crewe, who have also lost influential skipper Luke Murphy, along with the likes of Leyton Orient, Crawley, Tranmere and Notts County.
Manager: Phil Parkinson
Position last season: 7th in League Two, play-off winners
Nickname: The Bantams
Ground: Coral Windows Stadium/Valley Parade
Players in: Jason Kennedy (Rochdale, free), Mark Yeates (Watford, free)
Players out: Dean Overson, Steve Williams, Adam Baker, Zavon Hines (all released), Matt Duke Northampton, free), Will Atkinson (Southend, free)
Key man: Andrew Davies
Chances: Will be looking to maintain their momentum from last season and if they get off to a good start, with their big crowd behind them, Bradford should be looking up the table at a possible play-off challenge
Manager: Uwe Rosler
Position last season: 3rd
Nickname: The Bees
Ground: Griffin Park
Players in: Jack Bonham (Watford, free), Jake Bidwell (Everton, undisclosed), George Saville (Chelsea, loan), Alan McCormack (Swindon, free), Will Grigg (Walsall, compensation), Martin Fillo (FC Viktoria Plzen, loan), Javi Venta (Villareal, free), Jack Uttridge (Histon, free)
Players out: Antoine Gounet, Stefan Tomasevic, Max Herbert, Joe Maloney, Myles Hippolyte, Sam Griffiths, Leon Redwood (all released), Antonio German (Gillingham, compensation), Harry Forrester (Doncaster, compensation)
Key man: Clayton Donaldson
Chances: The Bees are determined to put last season's near-miss behind them and, with the squad already looking stronger despite the loss of Harry Forrester, they should be in the promotion mix again come May.
Head coach: Sean O'Driscoll
Position last season: 24th in Championship
Nickname: The Robins
Ground: Ashton Gate
Players in: Jordan Wynter (Arsenal, free) Aden Flint (Swindon, undisclosed), Derrick Williams (Aston Villa, free), Frank Fielding (Derby, undisclosed), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Ipswich, swap deal), Scott Wagstaff (Charlton, free)
Players out: Mark Wilson, Dean Gerken (Ipswich, free), Lewis Carey, Brian Howard, Matthew Bates (all released), Cole Skuse (Ipswich, free), Richard Foster (Rangers, free), Jon Stead (Huddersfield, free), Tom Heaton, (Burnley, free), Lewin Nyatanga (Barnsley, free) Paul Anderson (Ipswich, swap deal)
Key man: Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Chances: After a nightmare 2012/13 there is cause for optimism around Ashton Gate. Eleven players may have departed after relegation but their replacements fit the Sean O'Driscoll bill. Expect a stylish, possession-based team to be challenging at the top if the Robins' strikers step up to the mark.
Manager: Greg Abbott
Position last season: 17th
Nickname: The Cumbrians
Ground: Brunton Park
Players in: David Amoo (Tranmere, free), Josh Gillies (Gateshead, free), Reece James (Manchester United, loan)
Players out: Peter Murphy, Rory Loy, Mathieu Manset, Jon-Paul McGovern, Frank Simek, Tony Caig (all released), Andy Welsh (Scunthorpe, free), Adam Collin (Rotherham, free)
Key man: Lee Miller
Chances: Carlisle under-achieved last season. The Cumbrians are capable of beating anybody, particularly at Brunton Park, and manager Greg Abbott is under pressure to establish a level of consistency needed to challenge in the top half of the table.
Manager: Joe Dunne
Position last season: 20th
Nickname: The U's
Ground: Weston Homes Community Stadium
Players in: Craig Eastmond (Arsenal, free), Mason Spence (MK Dons, free), Sanchez Watt, (Arsenal, free), Danie Pappoe (Chelsea, six-month loan), Sam Walker (Chelsea, six-month loan)
Players out: Jackson Ramm (released) John White (Southend, free), Jack Compton (Hartlepool, free)
Key man: Sanchez Watt
Chances: Colchester narrowly survived the drop last term and can expect to be facing another relegation scrap in 2013/14 with eyes hopefully on a mid-table finish.
Manager: Steven Pressley
Position last season: 15th
Nickname: Sky Blues
Ground: Groundsharing at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium
Players out: Jordan Stewart, Stephen Elliott, Danny Philliskirk, Shaun Jeffers, Will Roberts, Josh Ruffels, Joe Henderson, David Bell (all released), Cody McDonald (Gillingham, free), Nathan Cameron (Bury, free), Richard Wood (Charlton, free)
Key man: Leon Clarke
Chances: It has been a turbulent summer having spent it in administration and under a transfer embargo while also announcing a groundshare with Northampton, and a tough season is likely to await the Sky Blues on the pitch.
Manager: Richie Barker
Position last season: 10th
Nickname: The Red Devils
Ground: Broadfield Stadium
Players in: Andy Drury (Ipswich, free), James Hurst (West Brom, free)
Players out: Shaun Cooper, Lateef Elford-Alliyu (both released), Matt Sparrow (Scunthorpe, free), Richard Brodie (Gateshead, free), David Hunt (Oxford, free), Mustapha Dumbuya (Notts County, free)
Key man: Billy Clarke
Chances: Fell short of the play-offs last term and, despite their big ambitions, with little in the way of investment over the summer mid-table beckons again for the men from Sussex.
Manager: Steve Davis
Position last season: 13th
Nickname: Alex, the Railwaymen
Ground: Gresty Road
Players in: Vadaine Oliver (Lincoln, undisclosed), Thierry Audel (Macclesfield, undisclosed), Lee Molyneux (Accrington, free), Anthony Grant (Stevenage, free)
Players out: Andy White, Paris Bateman, Brendon Daniels, Harry Clayton (all released), Luke Murphy (Leeds, undisclosed)
Key man: Max Clayton
Chances: Lost another of their academy gems when Luke Murphy switched to Leeds but have plenty more promising prospects to keep them away from relegation trouble.
Manager: Martin Allen
Position last season: 1st in League Two
Nickname: The Gills
Ground: Priestfield Stadium
Players in: Amine Linganzi (Accrington, free), Antonio German (Brentford, compensation), Adebayo Akinfenwa (Northampton, free), Cody McDonald (Coventry, free)
Players out: Lewis Montrose (York, free), Jack Evans (Tamworth, free), Andy Frampton (AFC Wimbledon, free)
Key man: Stuart Nelson
Chances: Gillingham dominated League Two last term as they scooped the title and will be looking to finish in the top half of League One, with one eye on a potential play-off spot amid a competitive division.
Manager: Russell Slade
Position last season: 7th
Nickname: The O's
Ground: Brisbane Road
Players in: Jake Larkins (West Ham, free), Shaun Batt (Millwall, free) Yohann Lasimant (unattached, free)
Players out: Lee Butcher, Lee Cook, Charlie MacDonald, Leon McSweeney, Martin Rowlands (all released), Jimmy Smith (Stevenage, free), Michael Symes (Burton, free), Afolabi Obafemi (Dagenham, free), Anthony Griffith (Port Vale, free)
Key man: Kevin Lisbie
Chances: Flirted with the play-offs last season but that looks an over-achievement. Russell Slade always has a decent first XI but there is little depth with injuries always likely to cost them.
Manager: Karl Robinson
Position last season: 8th
Nickname: The Dons
Players in: Patrick Bamford (Chelsea, loan), Ben Reeves (Southampton, free), Jason Banton (Crystal Palace, loan), Lee Hodson (Watford, free)
Players out: Mathias Kouo-Doumbe (released), Ryan Lowe (Tranmere, free), Gary MacKenzie (Blackpool, undisclosed), Adam Chicksen (Brighton, compensation)
Key man: Stephen Gleeson
Chances: Injuries to key players hit the Dons hard last season. If they can avoid such misfortune this time round then expect them to be challenging for promotion.
Manager: Chris Kiwomya
Position last season: 12th
Nickname: The Magpies
Ground: Meadow Lane
Players in: Malcolm Melvin (Aston Villa, free), Andy Haworth (Rochdale, free), Mustapha Dumbuya (Crawley, free), David Bell (Coventry, free), Danny Haynes (Charlton, free), Mark Fotheringham (Ross County, free)
Players out: Julian Kelly, Neal Bishop, Hamza Bencherif, Liam Mitchell, Jake Wholey (all released), Alan Judge (Blackburn, free), Jeff Hughes (Fleetwood, free)
Key man: Danny Haynes
Chances: Kiwomya has put his stamp on the squad this summer but it remains to be seen how Notts cope with the loss of key players such as Judge, Bishop and Hughes. Just like last season, the play-offs will probably be just beyond them.
Manager: Lee Johnson
Position last season: 19th
Nickname: The Latics
Ground: Boundary Park
Players in: Jonson Clarke-Harris (Peterborough, undisclosed), James Dayton, (Kilmarnock, free), Korey Smith (Norwich, free), Charlie MacDonald (Leyton Orient, free), Mark Oxley (Hull, season-long loan), Anton Rodgers (Brighton, free), Edijs Joksts (FC Jurmala, free), Sidney Schmeltz (SC Veendam, free)
Players out: Robbie Simpson, Dean Bouzanis, Lee Croft, Alex Cisak, Dan Taylor, Liam Jacob (all released), Connor Hughes (Hyde, free), Matt Smith (Leeds, free), Dean Furman (Doncaster, free)
Key man: Jose Baxter
Chances: The Football League's youngest manager steered Oldham away from the League One drop zone at the end of last year after their FA Cup heroics. Johnson knows he faces a similar task in his first full season in charge.
Manager: Darren Ferguson
Position last season: 22nd in Championship
Nickname: The Posh
Ground: London Road
Players in: Jack Payne (Gillingham, undisclosed)
Players out: Jonson Clarke-Harris (Oldham, undisclosed), George Boyd (Hull, free), Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace, undisclosed).
Key man: Jack Payne
Chances: The futures of a handful of players remain undecided but despite that - along with the departures of Boyd and Gayle - Posh should still be too strong for most in League One and an immediate return to the Championship appears a good bet.
Manager: Micky Adams
Position last season: 3rd in League Two
Nickname: The Valiants
Ground: Vale Park
Players in: Kaid Mohamed (Cheltenham, free), Gavin Tomlin (Southend, free), Chris Robertson, (Preston, free) Anthony Griffith (Leyton Orient, free)
Players out: Darren Purse, Clayton McDonald, Kingsley James, Calvin Andrew (all released), John McCombe (Mansfield, free), Sam Morsy (Chesterfield, compensation), Ashley Vincent (Cheltenham, free)
Key man: Tom Pope
Chances: Adams is still targeting defenders as pre-season injuries grip his squad ahead of the campaign. Vale appear well-equipped in attack and keeping Pope this summer was a must but they still might find the step up a little tough.
Manager: Simon Grayson
Position last season: 14th
Nickname: The Lilywhites
Players in: Tom Clarke (Huddersfield, free), Chris Humphrey (Motherwell, free), Kevin Davies (Bolton, free)
Players out: Luke Foster (released), Chris Robertson (Port Vale, free), Andy Procter (Bury, free), Ben Davies (York, loan)
Key man: Nicky Wroe
Chances: Fancied by some to be an outside chance for automatic promotion under Simon Grayson, who has led Blackpool, Leeds and Huddersfield in to the second tier, North End will need to score more goals if they are to realise that ambition.
Manager: Steve Evans
Position last season: 2nd in League Two
Nickname: The Millers
Ground: New York Stadium
Players in: Joe Skarz (Bury, free), Richard Brindley (Chesterfield, free), Adam Collin (Carlisle, free), David Worrall (Bury, undisclosed), Danny Hylton (Aldershot, free), Robert Milsom (Aberdeen, free), Michael Tidser (Morton, £50,000)
Players out: Andy Warrington, Alec Denton (both released), Ian Sharps (Burton, free), Nicky Hunt (Accrington, free), Dale Tonge (Torquay, free), Johnny Mullins (Oxford, undisclosed)
Key man: Michael O'Connor
Chances: The Millers will fancy their chances of producing another promotion push after finishing second in League Two. Steve Evans has a healthy budget but expect them to fall short of the play-offs.
Manager: David Weir
Position last season: 5th
Nickname: The Blades
Ground: Bramall Lane
Players in: Febian Brandy (Walsall, free), Stephen McGinn (Watford, free), Sean McGinty (Manchester United, free), Jasper Johns (Everton, free), Lyle Taylor (Falkirk, undisclosed), Connor Coady (Liverpool, loan)
Players out: Barry Robson (Aberdeen, free), Lecsinel Jean-Francois, Matty Harriott, Danny Coyne (all released), Dave Kitson (Oxford, free), Jordan Chapell (Torquay, free)
Key man: Kevin McDonald
Chances: Blades fans will want to avoid another play-off following two successive failures, but asking new boss David Weir to steer the club to automatic promotion in his first season as a manager and on a limited budget is a tall order.
Manager: Graham Turner
Position last season: 16th
Nickname: The Shrews
Ground: Greenhous Meadow
Players in: Alex McQuade (Bolton, free), Dave Winfield (Wycombe, free), Tamika Mkandawire (Millwall, free), Akwasi Asante (Birmingham, one-month loan), John Marsden (Stoke, free)
Players out: Matt Richards, Marvin Morgan (Plymouth, free), Mark Wright, Rob Purdie, Ryan Doble and Jermaine Grandison (all released), Asa Hall (Oxford, six-month loan)
Key man: Jon Taylor
Chances: Shrewsbury are facing another season of struggle in League One having released some big-name players and failed to really replace them with quality.
Manager: Graham Westley
Position last season: 18th
Ground: Broadhall Way
Players in: Luke Jones (Mansfield, free), Oumare Tounkara (Bristol Rovers, free), Sam Wedgbury (Macclesfield, free), Simon Heslop (Oxford, free), Jordan Burrow (Morecambe, free), Jimmy Smith (Leyton Orient, free)
Players out: Miguel Comminges, Andy Iro, Bondz N'Gala (all released), Patrick Agyemang (Portsmouth, free), Mark Roberts (Fleetwood, free), Anthony Grant (Crewe, free)
Key man: James Dunne
Chances: Westley has set about rebuilding the squad for his third stint in charge at Broadhall Way, but it is hard to imagine Boro troubling the promotion pack this season.
Manager: To be appointed
Position last season: 6th
Nickname: The Robins
Ground: County Ground
Players in: Jack Barthram (Tottenham, free), Nathan Byrne (Tottenham, free), Alex Pritchard (Tottenham, season-long loan) Alex Smith (Fulham, free), Grant Hall (Tottenham, season-long loan), Massimo Luongo (Tottenham, season-long loan), Ryan Mason (Tottenham, season-long loan), Tijane Reis (GD Chaves, free)
Players out: Gary Roberts, (Chesterfield, free) Joe Devera, (Portsmouth, free) Aden Flint, (Bristol City, undisclosed fee), Alan McCormack (Brentford, free) Simon Ferry, Tommy Miller, Raffaele De Vita, Chris Smith (all released)
Key man: Nathan Thompson
Chances: Shorn of a number of experienced faces, including former captain Alan McCormack, the Robins faithful will be cheering on a far more fresh-faced side this season under new management and they would certainly accept a second successive play-off appearance.
Manager: Ronnie Moore
Position last season: 11th
Ground: Prenton Park
Players in: Stephen Foster (Barnsley, free), Evan Horwood (Hartlepool, free), Ryan Lowe (MK Dons, free), Akpo Sodje (Scunthorpe, free), Chris Atkinson (Huddersfield, loan), James Rowe (Forest Green, free)
Players out: Paul Black (Mansfield, free), Danny Harrison (Chester FC, free), David Amoo, (Carlisle, free), Michael Kay (Chester FC, free), Zoumana Bakayogo (Leicester, free), Adam McGurk (released)
Key man: James Wallace
Chances: Tranmere flew out of the blocks last year but Ronnie Moore's small squad struggled to maintain that form as they drifted down into mid-table. Look for Rovers to occupy a similar spot come the end of this term.
Manager: Dean Smith
Position last season: 9th
Nickname: The Saddlers
Ground: Banks's Stadium
Players in: Milan Lalkovic, (Chelsea, six-month loan) Troy Hewitt, (QPR, free), Richard O'Donnell (Chesterfield, free), Romaine Sawyers (West Brom, free)
Players out: George Bowerman, Richard Taundry, Aaron Williams, Connor Taylor, Jake Jones (all released), Febian Brandy (Sheffield United, free), Will Grigg (Brentford, compensation), Jamie Paterson (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed)
Key man: Milan Lalkovic
Chances: The Saddlers have lost 40 of their 71 goals scored last term with the departures of Will Grigg, Jamie Paterson and Febian Brandy, they are lacking goals but will be hoping for another top-half finish.
Manager: Kenny Jackett
Position last season: 23rd in Championship
Players in: Sam Ricketts (Bolton, free)
Players out: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Stephen Hunt (both released), Christophe Berra (Ipswich, free), Jody Craddock (retired), Dorus De Vries (Nottingham Forest, free), Karl Henry (QPR, undisclosed)
Key man: Leigh Griffiths
Chances: In the third tier for the first time since 1989 after back-to-back relegations, Wolves, under experienced boss Kenny Jackett, are the bookies' favourites to win the League One title.