League One 2021/22 Review – Part III
Part III then of my annual spot analysis of our competition.
We’ve done the bookies promotion favourites and play-off contenders now for the mid-tablers, where a surprise challenger might spring from, or alternatively one or more of them will have play-off dream’s crushed and instead get embroiled in a relegation battle.
First up is Burton Albion, who were truly dreadful before Christmas (although they did beat us) but after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took over the Brewers played out of their skin and comfortably finished mid table.
Burton made some very good signings in January but on the face of it with returning loanees such as Sean Clare and Ryan Broom, I think they begin this season weaker than they ended it.
Random memories: The shocker of that defensive performance last year at the Pirelli Stadium.
Any decent transfer business yet: Well they did sign Deji Oshilaja.
Promotion Odds: 10/1
Chances the manager will make the season: Last time Jimmy Floyd lasted a year in the Burton hot seat before QPR came calling. 5/10
Our big rivals next, Gillingham. Yes sorry for the reminder of our big derby game these days. What a pleasant character Steve Evans is. A match made in heaven.
Gills upset all kinds of teams last season, including us of course, and I am sure they will do that again, but the quality I feel in the division has improved and I don’t think the Gills have, although thus far they have kept hold of Vadaine Oliver.
Random memories: Getting wet in that god-awful away end.
Any decent transfer business yet: Olly Lee was on loan there last season and has signed on a permanent from Hearts.
Promotion Odds: 12/1
Chances the manager will make the season: Steve Evans and Paul Scally will come to blows at some point. 3/10
Fleetwood Town appeared to have had their best chances of promotion. Since their last play-off appearance in 2020, investment has been low, and their best players moved on as budgets were cut.
Last year they finished 15th, but I reckon that relegation may haunt Simon Grayson’s team this season.
Random memories: A Tariqe Fosu hat-trick in of the just two wins we’ve had against them.
Any decent transfer business yet: The experienced Anthony Pilkington is back from the east…. East Bengal FC.
Promotion Odds: 14/1
Chances the manager will make the season: He’s had plenty of jobs has Simon Grayson. He took over in January. 5/10
I like they way Crewe Alexandra play, they have got some very good young players, when didn’t they, and are very easy on the eye. They have made some good additions and although they will miss Ryan Wintle, their crop of promising players mostly remains with I expect others in waiting.
I am sure the club also hope the child abuse scandal which has seen their name dragged through the courts is behind them.
Random memories: The Crewe game at The Valley in May brought home that we weren’t anywhere near good enough to get promotion.
Any decent transfer business yet: Young Southampton right back Kanye Ramsey is meant to be pretty good.
Promotion Odds: 16/1
Chances the manager will make the season: David Artell could get snapped up but this is his 5th season in charge. 6/10
Three years ago Shrewsbury Town knocked us out of the play-off’s and made the final. They haven’t been anywhere near that good again.
Last year was tough with Steve Cotterill incredibly ill due to Covid, so I am hoping we see him on the touchline again. It is a weak squad, weaker than last season with just a few additions thus far, and I think The Shrews may find themselves in a relegation battle this time around.
Random memories: Not being good enough to beat them over two legs in the play-off’s in 2018.
Any decent transfer business yet: Ryan Bowman signed from Exeter knows where the net is.
Promotion Odds: 16/1
Chances the manager will make the season: I suspect the club feel like they owe Steve Cotterill a sound platform to return to work. 7/10
Finally Plymouth Argyle. The Pilgrims had a dreadful end to last season and if it wasn’t for Luke Jephcott’s goals then they would surely have been relegated.
Jephcott is still there as is manager Ryan Lowe but he will have to start well as Argyle appear on a downward spiral. Lowe has had quite a clear out but the incomings look low on impact.
Random memories: That 6-0 win at Home Park last season was very random wasn’t it.
Any decent transfer business yet: Peterborough’s Ryan Broom impressive at Burton last season will ply his trade at Plymouth this season.
Promotion Odds: 16/1
Chances the manager will make the season: I think a bad start will signal the end of Lowe. 1/10