League One Season Preview 2020/21

Welcome to the Argyle Life League One Season Preview! 

League One begins on Saturday 7 August at 3PM. With the countdown now measured in hours, we’ve reviewed all 24 teams in depth and made our prediction for what the final league table will look like.

Please note, all previews were written on or before August 3rd and transfers may have occured since the time of writing.

From the entire team at Argyle Life, we hope you enjoy this season preview and wish every fan out there the best of luck for the season ahead – enjoy!

Accrington Stanley FC

Accrington Stanley

Manager: John Coleman

Key Player: Dion Charles

Key transfer: Harry Pell

Target: Top-half

Predicting relegation for Accrington is par for the course, so it’s only natural that the first time this website doesn’t put them down as attempting to avoid relegation they’ll inevitably be relegated. Either way, I like the look of this Accrington team.

 

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Blackpool FC

Bolton Wanderers

Manager: Ian Evatt

Key Player: Eoin Doyle

Key transfer: Josh Sheehan

Target: Top-half

Having won promotion last season, that was obviously the start of Bolton’s aim to return to the top. However, after a whirlwind few years I feel that Bolton should aim for consolidation first and see what comes after that.

 

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Burton Albion FC

Burton Albion

Manager: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Key player: Lucas Akins

Key departure: Ryan Edwards

Target: Avoid relegation

It’s not yet clear which Burton we will see next season: the side that won two of their first 22 games up to the beginning of January, or the one that won 13 of the next 24 in the second half of the season.

 

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Bristol Rovers FC

Cambridge United

Manager: Mark Bonner

Key player: Wes Hoolahan

Key departure: Paul Mullin

Target: Avoid relegation

I didn’t really want to put this a target for anyone but the truth is after losing their key man in Mullin, they have at the time of writing failed to add any signings of note in that area, or any area on the pitch for that matter.

 

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Charlton Athletic FC

Charlton Athletic

Manager: Nigel Adkins

Key player: Akin Famewo

Key departure: Chuks Aneke

Target: Play-offs

Charlton finished one position outside of the play-offs last season. With a full season of stable ownership and Adkins at the helm, they should be aiming to do a little better this campaign.

 

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Northampton Town FC

Cheltenham Town

Manager: Michael Duff

Key player: Ben Tozer

Key signing: Owen Evans

Target: Avoid relegation

“Cheltenham have just been promoted so we’ll make their goal to avoid relegation” is pretty tired logic. However, most Cheltenham fans would still gladly accept a 20th-place finish this season.

 

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Crewe Alexandra FC

Crewe Alexandra

Manager: David Artell

Key Player: Charlie Kirk

Key departure: Harry Pickering

Target: Top-half

There are a number of big clubs who you suspect will be fighting it out at the top of League One, and whilst Crewe have made year-on-year progress under Artell, this could be the toughest step to take.

 

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Doncaster Rovers FC

Doncaster Rovers

Manager: Richie Wellens

Key Player: Fejiri Okenabirhie

Key signing: Ro-Shaun Williams

Target: Top-half

Doncaster’s season is one of the harder ones to predict. In theory, Wellens looks a shrewd appointment, particularly given his successes at Swindon when they weren’t a mess off the field.

 

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Fleetwood Town FC

Fleetwood Town

Manager: Simon Grayson

Key player: Callum Camps

Key departure: Wes Burns

Target: Top half

Fleetwood escaped their Joey Barton era relatively unscathed (well, at least compared to Bristol Rovers), and are off to a relatively solid start under Grayson.

 

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Gillingham FC

Gillingham

Manager: Steve Evans

Key player: Vadaine Oliver

Key transfer: Max Ehmer

Target: Top half

Gillingham aren’t going to be strong enough to make a run at the play-offs, just as they weren’t last season, but they can still aim to finish in the top half.

 

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Ipswich Town FC

Ipswich Town

Manager: Paul Cook

Key player: Scott Fraser

Key departure: Luke Chambers

Target: Promotion

It can’t be anything else really can it? Ipswich have gutted their squad that underperformed for so many years and have signed a breathtaking array of quality.

 

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Lincoln City FC

Lincoln City

Manager: Michael Appleton

Key player: Conor McGrandles

Key departure: Jorge Grant

Target: Play-offs

Were it not for last season, I’d be putting Lincoln down as targetting the top half of the league, as I did last season, but you can’t overlook the impact Appleton had.

 

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Milton Keynes Dons FC

Milton Keynes

Manager: unknown

Key player: Max Watters

Key departure: Scott Fraser

Target: Avoid relegation

Whilst the losses of Scott Fraser, Cameron Jerome and Mathew Sorinola are significant, there’s a feeling that MK Dons will go one better this season, provided that Russell Martin sticks around. [Editor’s note: eek.]

 

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Hull City AFC

Morecambe

Manager: Stephen Robinson

Key Player: Toumani Diagouraga

Key departure: Carlos Mendes Gomes

Target: Avoid relegation

Frankly, avoiding bottom spot is probably a fair and realistic target in itself for a team who have been stripped of the man who is their best ever manager and the man who’s arguably their best ever player in one bittersweet summer.

 

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Oxford United FC

Oxford United

Manager: Karl Robinson

Key player: Matty Taylor

Key departure: Robert Atkinson

Target: Play-offs

After two play-off campaigns in a row, Oxford have kept the core of the squad that got two consecutive play-off seasons in place. That said, their squad is not substantially better and the league they’re competing in certainly looks stronger than ever before.

 

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Plymouth Argyle FC

Plymouth Argyle

Manager: Ryan Lowe

Key player: Conor Grant

Key transfer: Dan Scarr

Target: Top-half

Argyle’s target for this season is the same I set them for last, there were times last season when they did look like they could fulfill that target and Lowe also hinted a few times publically that top half might be the target.

 

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Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth

Manager: Danny Cowley

Key Player: Ronan Curtis

Key departure: Craig MacGillivray

Target: Promotion

Nothing less than promotion would do for Portsmouth. The last four seasons under Kenny Jackett were considered a failure – losing in the playoffs twice and not even making them in the other two seasons.

 

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Peterborough United FC

Rotherham United

Manager: Paul Warne

Key player: Michael Smith

Key departure: Matt Crooks

Target: Play-offs

Rotherham are the ultimate yoyo side and perhaps it may be logical to assume they’ll sail to promotion once again. However, there are reasons to suggest they might find this season a lot harder.

 

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Rochdale AFC

Sheffield Wednesday

Manager: Darren Moore

Key player: Lewis Wing

Key signing: Florian Kamberi

Target: Promotion

Maybe things are turning for Wednesday. Darren Moore was a smart appointment – his track record is excellent and he tries to play football the right way.

 

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Shrewsbury Town FC

Shrewsbury Town

Manager: Steve Cotterill

Key player: Sean Whalley

Key transfer: Ryan Bowman

Target: Top-half

The Shrewsbury squad is probably thin at best heading into the new season, particularly in midfield with David Davis, Josh Vela and Ollie Norburn the obvious trio, but lacking any serious options.

 

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Sunderland AFC

Sunderland

Manager: Lee Johnson

Key player: Aiden McGeady

Key departure: Charlie Wyke

Target: Play-offs

Some supporters will probably see any season spent at this level as a failure, but realistically, it will be tough to expect them to challenge for the top two this season, given the depth of the squad overhaul.

 

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Wigan Athletic FC

Wigan Athletic

Manager: Leam Richardson

Key player: Jack Whatmough

Key transfer: Charlie Wyke

Target: Play-offs

Wigan’s quality will never be in question ahead of the new campaign, but rather whether Leam Richardson can mastermind getting all of his players to gel early doors in the season.

 

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AFC Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Manager: Mark Robinson

Key player: Alex Woodyard

Key departure: Joe Pigott

Target: Avoid relegation

Wimbledon are in for a tough season. The loss of Pigott will affect them badly – there are no obvious candidates to step up and replace his goals.

 

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Swindon Town FC

Wycombe Wanderers

Manager: Gareth Ainsworth

Key player: Sam Vokes

Key transfer: Sullay Kaikai

Target: Play-offs

Ainsworth will want to attempt to get his side back there as quick as possible and after showing that they have intent to replace key players with two quality players that could equally suit the system, you can see that just might be the case.

 

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Predicted table

1 IPSWICH TOWN
2 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
3 SUNDERLAND
4 PORTSMOUTH
5 ROTHERHAM UNITED
6 OXFORD UNITED
7 WIGAN ATHLETIC
8 CHARLTON ATHLETIC
9 WYCOMBE WANDERERS
10 LINCOLN CITY
11 CREWE ALEXANDRA
12 BOLTON WANDERERS
13 ACCRINGTON STANLEY
14 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE
15 FLEETWOOD TOWN
16 DONCASTER ROVERS
17 SHREWSBURY TOWN
18 GILLINGHAM
19 CHELTENHAM TOWN
20 MILTON KEYNES
21 BURTON ALBION
22 WIMBLEDON
23 CAMBRIDGE UNITED
24 MORECAMBE