League One preview

Image: Skysports.com previews the 2010/11 npower League One season

As part of skysports.com's build-up to the 2010/11 season, we preview League One.

As part of skysports.com's build-up to the 2010/11 season, we run a beady eye over League One.

If last season League One was all about fallen giants rising from the ashes of recent disappointments, then Sheffield Wednesday will hope history repeats itself as they bid for an immediate return to the Championship. Wednesday suffered the heartache of relegation on the final day of last season after a dramatic duel with Sheffield Wednesday saw the Eagles soar over the Owls, but Alan Irvine will draw heart from the fact both Norwich and Leeds made light of being the league's prize scalps last term. Irvine's men will be amongst the title favourites but it will be far from plain-sailing to escape from a division that houses several sides with lofty ambitions. Peterborough's appointment of Gary Johnson could well prove a masterstroke, while Plymouth, the third side to be relegated from the Championship, will pray Peter Reid has a similar galvanising affect at Home Park. It could be, though, that it is South Coast rivals Southampton that top the pile come May as the Saints possess arguably the most talented squad in the division, boast the country's leading goalscoring in Rickie Lambert and, most importantly, are no longer hamstrung by a perilous financial state. Charlton, Swindon and Huddersfield will look to go one better after falling short in last season's play-offs. Of the three only Huddersfield have made noticeable signings though, as both the Addicks and Robins have seen key players depart. Lee Clark has been backed in the transfer market so big things will expected at the Galpharm Stadium and it's a similar tale at Brighton, where Gus Poyet has been given healthy financial backing by his ambitious board.

Ambition

After disappointing campaigns last time out MK Dons and Oldham have decided to hand the reins to rookie managers, as Karl Robinson and Paul Dickov have been given their first dugout roles. Colchester have gone down a different route in appointing the experienced John Ward after Aidy Boothroyd's defection to Coventry City in May. Craig Short is another new face as the Notts County legend has been handed the keys to Meadow Lane, after Steve Cotterill decided the Portsmouth job was too good to refuse. A tightening of the financial purse strings has seen the Magpies lose the influential Kasper Schmeichel but a string of astute signings should compensate for the Dane's departure. Bournemouth's remarkable return to League One, despite having to navigate the whole campaign with the most threadbare of squads, was one of the stories of last season and up-and-coming boss Eddie Howe will be hoping for more of the same now the club's financial problems have been solved. Dagenham & Redbridge are playing in the third tier for the first time in their history and will likely consider survival a success as they look to consolidate their lofty rise through the divisions. Exeter played some bright football last year under the impressive Paul Tisdale but will need new signing Daniel Nardiello to fire if they are to avoid the drop again. Tranmere were another side that struggled last year and will hope for a better campaign than their last, which saw seven points from the final nine save them from relegation. Hartlepool have been quiet in the transfer market over the summer and given they almost went down last season, another campaign of toil looks set to follow. Leyton Orient have been far busier and Russell Slade will be confident of improving on last year's efforts, while his former club Yeovil will likely occupy the low midtable reaches they have frequented these past few campaigns. Carlisle and Walsall could also be likely midtable dwellers, although Saddlers boss Chris Hutchings would argue there's no reason why his side can't build on last season's impressive tenth placed finish. It's been a disappointing summer for Rochdale as their first season outside of the bottom division since 1969 will see them without top goalscorer Chris Dagnall and influential defender Tom Kennedy, who have moved to Scunthorpe and Leicester respectively. Brentford and Bristol Rovers were two of the sides there or thereabouts last season and both could push for the play-offs again after adding Nicky Forster and Will Hoskins to their ranks. Either player could push for the top goalscorer gong if their new clubs provide satisfactory ammunition. Read skysports.com's exhaustive guide to each club in League One and join the debate over whether we've got our predictions right. Click here for clubs (A-D): Bournemouth, Brentford, Brighton, Bristol Rovers, Carlisle, Charlton, Colchester, Dagenham & Redbridge. Click here for clubs (E-P): Exeter, Hartlepool, Huddersfield, Leyton Orient, MK Dons, Notts County, Oldham, Peterborough, Plymouth. Click here for clubs (Q-Z): Rochdale, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Swindon, Tranmere, Walsall, Yeovil.

Around Sky