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  1. ITV Report

Football League One 2013/14 preview

Coventry City fans protest outside the offices of SISU Capital in Red Place, London. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

COVENTRY CITY:

Carl Baker will be relied on heavily if Coventry City are to be successful this season Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

Last season:

15th in League One

Odds:

  • Promotion - 9/1
  • Relegation - 4/1

Manager:

Steven Pressley

Players bought:

None

There are turbulent off-seasons and then there is a Coventry City off-season.

Just when the fans thought they had seen the worst of it following relegation from The Championship and administration, they now have the ignominy of having to travel 35 miles to another city to watch their team.

While some retain hope that they will see Coventry play in Coventry, as each day passes it seems increasingly likely that the Sky Blues will be playing their first home game of the season at Sixfields Stadium.

There are even more problems off the pitch with the ongoing concerns that the club could, once again, enter liquidation and face another points deduction.

With all the uncertainty, manager Steven Pressley has been unable to add to his squad meaning Coventry head into the new season in an even weaker position than they were the season before.

The likes of Leon Clarke and Carl Baker remain meaning the Sky Blues should have enough to remain in the division - but it will not be easy.

NOTTS COUNTY:

Notts County have consolidated themselves in League One Credit: PA

Last season:

12th in League One

Odds:

  • Promotion - 9/1
  • Relegation - 6/1

Manager:

Chris Kiwomya

Players bought:

  • Mark Fotheringham (Notts County)
  • David Bell (Coventry City)
  • Danny Haynes (Charlton)
  • Mustapha Dumbuya (Crawley Town)
  • Malcolm Melvin (Aston Villa)
  • Andy Haworth (Rochdale)

It is not just Coventry City who have had financial issues in the last few seasons.

Fresh off the uncertainty with administration a couple of seasons ago, the Magpies were dealt a blow with the news that their budget would be slashed by 30% for the next season.

On top of that, manager Chris Kiwomya has had to rebuild following the loss of star players Alan Judge, Neal Bishop and Jeff Hughes.

But Kiwomya has made a good start with Mustapha Dumbuya and Danny Haynes being brought in. These players have the talent to make up for the players sold and, if they are kept fit, County should be fine.

PETERBOROUGH:

Peterborough will be expecting to bounce back at the first time of asking under Darren Ferguson Credit: PA Wire

Last season:

22nd in The Championship (relegated)

Odds:

  • Promotion - 11/4
  • Relegation - 33/1

Manager:

Darren Ferguson

Players bought:

  • Jack Payne (Gillingham)
  • Britt Assombalonga (Watford)

Peterborough are not as strong as they were last time they were relegated a couple of seasons back but there is still a good chance of promotion back to The Championship.

Peterborough have settled their dispute with the council meaning £1m worth of renovation to London Road will be provided in exchange for a reduced rent of around £300,000 a year.

George Boyd and Craig Mackail-Smith are not there to fire the Posh back up and the loss of Dwight Gayle to Crystal Palace is a disappointment.

But the addition of Jack Payne as well as the record signing of Britt Assombalonga will ensure Peterborough are up there at the end.

PORT VALE:

Port Vale secured promotion to League One last season Credit: Clint Hughes/PA Archive

Last season:

3rd in League Two (promoted)

Odds:

  • Promotion - 14/1
  • Relegation - 7/2

Manager:

Micky Adams

Players bought:

  • Carl Dickinson (Watford)
  • Anthony Griffith (Leyton Orient)
  • Chris Lines (Sheffield Wednesday)
  • Kaid Mohamed (Cheltenham Town)
  • Gavin Tomlin (Southend United)
  • Chris Robertson (Preston North End)

One of the perennial yo-yo clubs, Port Vale are once again back in League One and Micky Adams has a tough job on his hands if he is to secure their status in the division for next season.

In the off-season Adams was very bullish about their prospects, saying they will maintain their attacking style which saw them promoted last season.

But he admits that Vale are still lacking in a few areas with the biggest concern being their defence. If the club can plug that gap then they stand a good chance of survival.

SHREWSBURY TOWN:

Shrewsbury Town flirted with relegation last season Credit: PA Wire.

Last season:

15th in League One

Odds:

  • Promotion - 25/1
  • Relegation - 15/8

Manager:

Graham Turner

Players bought:

  • James Tavernier (Newcastle Utd)
  • John Marsden (Stoke City)
  • Akwase Asanti (Birmingham City)
  • Alex McQuade (Bolton)
  • Dave Winfield (Wycombe Wanderers)
  • Tamika Mkandawire (Millwall)

Graham Turner said at the start of the off-season that Shrewsbury would have to be realistic in their pursuit of players but that has not stopped them from bringing a significant number of new recruits in.

They have bought a number of experienced players like Mkandawire and Winfield who should add some steal to a defence which leaked goals, putting them close to relegation.

The Shrews had to rely heavily on Tom Eaves' goals last season to keep them up and it is unlikely he will be around this season. While the defence has been shored up, Turner needs to turn his attention to the striking department to keep Shrewsbury in the division.

WALSALL:

Walsall could struggle to repeat the success of last season Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

Last season:

9th in League One

Odds:

  • Promotion - 16/1
  • Relegation - 7/2

Manager:

Dean Smith

Players bought:

  • James McQuilken
  • Romaine Sawyers (WBA)
  • Richard O'Donnell (Chesterfield)
  • Milan Lalkovic (Chelsea)
  • Troy Hewitt (QPR)

Walsall were one of the surprise packages last season, at one point making a strong push for the play-offs.

But their stars Fabian Brandy, Will Grigg and Jamie Paterson have all been snapped up leaving them desperately short up front.

Dean Smith has worked wonders with the club continuously punching above their weight but the reliance on Troy Hewitt and Chelsea loanee Milan Lalkovic means Walsall fans will be looking over their shoulders for much of the season.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS:

Kenny Jackett was appointed the new Wolves manager in the summer Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Last season:

23rd in The Championship (relegated)

Odds:

  • Promotion - 5/4
  • Relegation - 66/1

Manager:

Kenny Jackett

Players bought:

  • Sam Ricketts (Bolton)
  • Leigh Griffiths (Hibernian)

After back-to-back relegations, Wolves fans are hoping the only way is up for their side.

There are grounds for optimism with the hiring of Kenny Jackett as manager, a move which has won widespread support. Much criticism has been directed at owner Steve Morgan and Chief Executive Jez Moxey but it looks like they have been spot on with this decision. Jackett had an impressive record in difficult circumstances at Millwall and he can be relied on to mount a title charge.

There are still some big wages to be taken off the books with the likes of Roger Johnson and Jamie O'Hara still available. But as long as Wayne Hennessy, Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt among others are still around then Wolves should win the league at a canter.

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