Here’s the third part of the club by club season preview – complete with official twitter accounts, hashtags and an at-a-glance guide to whether you club will be playing at Carlisle on a Tuesday night. All prices were taken from the Oddschecker site on 12th July.
Oldham Athletic (@OfficialOAFC) #oafc
Manager: Lee Johnson (since March 2013)
Where to start? How about losing the most games of the teams that weren’t relegated (only Bury and Hartlepool scored fewer goals), failing to score more than two goals away from home (something they’ve not done since March 2012) and spending all of last season in the bottom half of the table. A change of management did the trick last season, but Lee Johnson has his work cut out for him in 2013/14. Forget the FA Cup win over Liverpool: Oldham will struggle to avoid relegation.
Peterborough United (@theposhdotcom) #posh
Manager: Darren Ferguson (January 2011)
Carlisle on a Tuesday night: no, but Carlisle visit London Road on Easter Monday
Heartbreakingly close to staying in the nPower Championship but in the end a very poor start to last season cost Posh dearly. It remains to be seen if the gung-ho attacking approach to League One football has been tempered by two seasons at a higher level, but Peterborough have both the history and the ability to suggest that an immediate return to the second tier is more likely than not.
Port Vale (@OfficialPVFC) #pvfc
Manager: Mickey Adams (since May 2011)
Back in the third tier after five seasons away, but here’s a word of warning for an overoptimistic Valiants fans: nine of the last 20 3rd placed finishers in League 2 have been relegated. That’s also emphasised by what happened in 2012/13: Port Vale started off well last season but actually only won nine games between the end of December and May. A bottom half finish without the threat of relegation is probably the best case scenario.
Preston North End (@pnefc) #pne
Manager: Simon Grayson (since February 2013)
Carlisle on a Tuesday night: no, but Carlisle on a Boxing Day Thursday afternoon, which may actually be more worse or more fun depending on your outlook on life.
Did well in the cup competitions (lost to Coventry in the Northern Section semi final of the JPT) but had issues scoring away from Deepdale and to say that Graham Westley didn’t fit in would be an understatement. The days of competing in the Championship playoffs are a long time ago now, although it’s worth pointing out that it took Preston four seasons to escape the third tier last time they were relegated and Simon Grayson knows how to succeed at this level.
Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) #rufc
Manager: Steve Evans (since April 2012)
Carlisle on a Tuesday night: no
Finished strongly with five straight wins to clinch promotion back to League One for first time since 2007. Should finish comfortably mid table but may have a chance at the playoffs if they start strongly: were a Championship team less than a decade ago and their new stadium wouldn’t look out of place in the second tier. Could be a surprise package.
Sheffield United (@SUFC_tweets) #sufc
Manager: David Weir (since June 2013)
Carlisle on a Tuesday night: no, but Carlisle visit Bramall Lane on Tuesday 11th March
League One’s sleeping giant drew far too many games last season – including six goalless draws at home – to be considered candidates for automatic promotion, but were tough to beat last season and will be again in 2013/14. However, the pressure for a return to the Championship will be on David Weir and although the Blades had better away records that Bournemouth and Yeovil, they only won two of their last ten games. Should definitely finish in the top ten: but will the weight of expectations cause another collapse?