2020/21 League One preview: Promotion favourites, relegation candidates and games to look out for
 (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

With the new League One season fast approaching, here is everything you need to know heading into the new campaign, with VAVEL UK's guide to the third tier of English football.

Meet the new boys

There are seven new sides in the division this year, three of which were relegated from the Championship, while the other four came up from League Two. Lets take a look at them:

  • Charlton Athletic

Nickname: The Addicks.

Ground: The Valley (27,111).

Manager: Lee Bowyer.

Last season: 22nd in Championship (relegated).

  • Crewe Alexandra

Nickname: The Railway Men.

Ground: Gresty Road (10,153).

Manager: David Artell.

Last season: 2nd in League Two (promoted).

  • Hull City

Nickname: The Tigers.

Ground: KCOM Stadium (25,586).

Manager: Grant McCann.

Last season: 24th in Championship (relegated).

Northampton Town

Nickname: The Cobblers.

Ground: PTS Academy Stadium (7,798).

Manager: Keith Curle.

Last season: 7th in League Two (play-off winners).

  • Plymouth Argyle

Nickname: The Pilgrims.

Ground: Home Park (17,904).

Manager: Ryan Lowe.

Last season: 3rd in League Two (promoted).

  • Swindon Town

Nickname: The Robins.

Ground: County Ground (15,728).

Manager: Richie Wellens.

Last season:  1st in League Two (promoted as champions).

  • Wigan Athletic

Nickname: The Latics.

Ground: DW Stadium (25,138).

Manager: Leam Richardson.

Last season:  23rd in Championship (relegated).

Promotion Favourites

It looks as though Sunderland are going to be the side to watch this season, with the Black Cats 6/1 favourites to claim the League One title.

Phil Parkinson has made some impressive signings over the summer break including attacker Aiden O'Brien. The former Millwall man knows what it takes to get out of League One after he helped The Lions gain promotion to the Championship in 2017 with 15 league goals. 

Despite the sale of last seasons League One top scorer Ivan Toney, Peterborough United are also looking strong ahead of the new campaign. Posh, tipped at 5/2 to gain promotion this time out, will have felt hard done by last season when the points per game system meant they missed out on a shot at promotion through the play-offs. Director of Football, Barry Fry and Chairman, Darragh MacAnthony both made their frustrations clear to Sky Sports News when Posh missed out last season. MacAntonhy told the Football Show on Sky Sports:

"As a club we would love to finish the job that we started all those months ago and try to win promotion on the pitch."

Fry has also told Sky Sports that Posh see this as a "revenge season" having felt they deserved promotion in the previous campaign.

Kenny Jackett's Portsmouth side will also be looking to bounce back after last seasons play-off disappointment when they were knocked out in the semi-finals by Oxford United, another side who are also tipped for promotion this time out. Pompey are tipped at 9/4 to earn promotion while Oxford are given a 3/1 chance of making the step up to the Championship. 

Who could go down?

Rochdale are the favourites to go down to League Two at the end of this season with the bookmakers judging them at 8/11 to go down. Dale have a tough start to the new campaign as they travel to newly promoted Swindon Town on the opening day, followed by tough back to back games against promotion candidates Portsmouth and Ipswich Town

AFC Wimbledon are another side tipped for a tough season in the third tier, bookmarked at 11/10 to play League Two football in 2021/22. The Dons will be unsettled as they start the season in unfamiliar surroundings at Loftus Road while they wait for their new stadium, Plough Lane, to be ready to host football matches. With it being uncertain when they'll move into their new home and the time it could take for the squad to settle in there, Glyn Hodges' side will have to be good on the road if they want to survive this season.

They travel to Northampton Town on the first day of the season, another side expected to be scrapping near the bottom.

Following their promotion via the League Two play-offs, Northampton Town are back in League One after a two season absence.

Following their promotion, Keith Curle has let go of ten of the main men from their promotion winning side last season, most notably the sale of defender Charlie Goode to Brentford for an undisclosed fee. The Cobblers are tipped at 7/5 to go down and will be reliant on the likes of Joseph Mills creativity out wide as well as the experience of midfielder Chris Lines who knows what it takes to play in League One after spending a few seasons in the division with Bristol Rovers

Games to look out for

The new League One season is set to have some mouth-watering encounters. 

The two title favourites Sunderland and Peterborough United are set to meet first at the Stadium of Light early on in the campaign on the 26th September 2020, with the reverse fixture to be played at London Road towards the end of the season on Monday 5th April 2021.

Other games which could impact at the top of the table towards the end of the season include Oxford United's trip to Sunderland on Good Friday (2nd April 2021), Peterborough United who host rivals Northampton Town on the 17th April, Sunderland's midweek trip to Hull City on the 20th April and finally Charlton Athletic, who take on promotion rivals Peterborough on 24th April 2021.

As for the bottom of the table, Shrewsbury’s trip to Northampton on April 2nd could be a vital turning point in either sides fight for survival. The three relegation favourites AFC Wimbledon, Northampton and Rochdale all have tough away trips on the final day as they travel to Lincoln City, Sunderland and MK Dons, respectively. 

It is certainly set up the be a mouth-watering League One season, with everybody involved hoping this one will reach a natural conclusion.

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