League One 2021/22 Review – Part IV
And the final episode of my pre-season look at the league competition.
Using the bookies as my guide, Part I was the considered promotion favourites, Part II was play-off hopefuls, Part III those in mid-table with ambitions and this final Part V are the teams expected to have a relegation battle on their hands.
Accrington Stanley ended last season in their highest league position since 1958. and in John Coleman have one of the league’s best managers, and depending on cup runs may well make 1,000 games in charge of Stanley this season.
Importantly as of today Coleman can still call on strikers Bishop and Charles.
Random memories: Accrington Stanley? Who are they? Well they ran rings around us at The Valley last season.
Any decent transfer business yet: Harry Pell has arrived on a free transfer from Colchester. He’s had a solid lower league career since he was released by us 11 years ago.
Promotion Odds: 16/1
Chances the manager will make the season: Oh absolutely. 10/10.
The bottom four teams starts with AFC Wimbledon with fans back at their Plough Lane ground for the first time. The Dons stayed up by 4 points last season, but Mark Robinson did a stellar job in pulling them away from trouble losing just 6 in 21 from the end of January.
They have lost their talisman Joe Piggot, but there is a lot to like about some of their youngsters and Robinson has added further youth through the summer. Goals could be a problem, but I reckon they could finish quite clear of the bottom four.
Random memories: I went to the old Plough Lane a few times. Our record there was dreadful.
Any decent transfer business yet: Couple of young loans that come May everyone will know about or their names will be met with a shrug of the shoulders. Striker Dapo Mebude from Watford and Aaron Presley from Brentford.
Promotion Odds: 20/1
Chances the manager will make the season: I would think Mark Robinson will be fine, that’s unless the Dons rock this division and he is lured away.
Cheltenham Town, last season’s L2 Champions are expected to struggle. Michael Duff has a team primed for a battle though, and they are good defensively so we’ll have to see.
Their summer dealings have been very low key, and this will be a step up in class.
Random memories: We’ve only played them once, that was in the League Cup. We lost and a certain Harry Pell got the winner.
Any decent transfer business yet: Three players have returned that were on loan with The Robins last season. Elliot Bonds and Owen Evans signed permanently and midfielder Callum Wright is back on loan.
Promotion Odds: 28/1
Chances the manager will make the season: Safety is the goal and I would expect Duff to see it through to the bitter end 8/10.
Cambridge United, who are also newly promoted, can expect a tough time of it according to the bookies. The step up from tier 4 to 3 in recent years has started to resemble the change in class we see higher up the pyramid.
With the added challenge of doing it without last season’s top scorer Paul Mullin. He scored 34 goals in total, and that will be very tough to replace. Last season mainstay’s Luke Hannant and Kyle Knoyle also left in the summer.
Random memories: A 5-2 home win sticks in the mind in the mid-80’s.
Any decent transfer business yet: The out list is more startling than the in list to be honest. I’ll go with young midfielder Jensen Weir on loan from Brighton.
Promotion Odds: 33/1
Chances the manager will make the season: Mark Bonner was excellent last season and his success is a great story. Could be a tough season. 5/10
And lastly we end up with Morecambe, who had a dreamy season winning the most unexpected promotion. Since then Derek Adams has left as has top scorer Mendes Gomes.
Morecambe have been one of the most active L1 clubs in the transfer market bringing in 15 players in total. 12 have left in a complete makeover when maybe status quo would have been better served. Guess we’ll find out.
Random memories: We’ve never played The Shrimps.
Any decent transfer business yet: It has been a quick and impressive rebuild. Anthony O’Connor is a solid centre-back, but I’ve my eye on Leeds loanee Alfie McCalmont.
Promotion Odds: 40/1
Chances the manager will make the season: After being out of work since leaving Motherwell in December 2020, Paul Robinson was appointed manager after Derek Adams announced he was leaving. 4/10