As the new season slowly creeps up on us, we look at the potential promotion rivals, relegation candidates and everything in between.
Stanley had a very surprising debut season the League One last season, finishing fourteenth. With a stadium capacity of just 5,000, the Wham Stadium is pretty tiny, but fun because of the terracing, not to mention the guy busking in the away end. Last season we drew 2-2 at home and played twice at Accrington. The initial game was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch, with us eventually returning and being the victors in a 3-0 win. Even then, the weather was at the forefront of everyone’s minds when the rain and hail made another unwelcome appearance as we arrived. This season John Coleman will surely be aiming to just survive again, as they finished only five points away from the relegation zone.
Predicted finish: 19th
Fortunately for the Crazy Gang, they survived last year on goal difference sending Plymouth down. Their stadium has a capacity even smaller than Accrington’s; 4,850. This makes it the smallest in the league. Last year, Sunderland did the double over the Wombles, winning 2-1 at Kingsmeadow and 1-0 at home, despite them being all over us in the first half down there. This season Wimbledon are at risk of relegation after surviving the drop last time by the skin of their teeth.
Predicted finish: 22nd
Last season The Seasiders finished tenth after a turbulent season, winning 15 games and losing times. Bloomfield Road holds 17,000 and is a great away day, we certainly loved it on New Year’s Day when we took over the ground. We won that game 1-0, before drawing 1-1 at home in February. This season Blackpool will be hoping to push for the play off places under new ownership, this will also see the ground fill up once more. Last year there was a lot of confusion regarding seat numbers as the Tangerines used an unusual numbering system.
Predicted finish: 10th
Off the pitch, Wanderers have been in a terrible state. Relegated from the Championship, we didn’t have the pleasure of visiting the stadium last season. Both sides were in the Championship last time we met, Bolton going unbeaten against us. As well as a 1-0 defeat away, we were part of a ridiculous 3-3 draw on Halloween that signalled the end of Simon Grayson’s dismal spell as manager. Bolton are incredibly hard to predict, but they will be aiming to stop the rot and aiming for a top six finish.
Predicted finish: 5th
The Gas finished last season in fifteenth place on 54 points. Sunderland beat them 2-1 at home and 2-0 at the Memorial Stadium, not to mention 2-0 away in the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final. Of course, there was the memorable moment when substitute Max Power left his position on the bench to jog to the closest Portaloo, only to return and was welcomed with a chorus of “He shits where he wants”. Next season they’ll be hoping to survive the drop once more.
Predicted finish: 15th
Somewhat of a bogey team for Sunderland, Burton are unbeaten in their last three games against the lads, including the fact that they were the first team to beat us last season. They finished ninth after 17 wins and 17 losses. The Pirelli Stadium holds just under 7,000, giving it a decent atmosphere when full. The Brewers will be looking to push into the playoffs, hoping for a chance to get back into the Championship.
Predicted finish: 9th
The first promoted team in this list… Bury had a great 2018/19 season finishing second on 79 points. We haven’t been to Gigg Lane for a while, so it’ll be a new ground for some younger fans who will be looking forward to going there. The last time the two clubs faced each other was in August 2017 in the League Cup, which we won 1-0. The Shakers could well struggle this year.
Predicted finish: 24th
Much like Bolton, the Sky Blues have suffered huge off the field trouble. Their fans have been wankers whenever we’ve faced them so it’s difficult to have any sympathy for them having to share Birmingham City’s ground this season. Last year Sunderland drew 1-1 away from home, before Mark Robins ended our unbeaten home record by outscoring us in a 5-4 thriller. The players may find it unusual playing in a different stadium, so due to their financial struggles I think they’ll be mid-table, dropping from their eighth place finish last season.
Predicted finish: 12th
Rovers had a good season last time, but weren’t actually that impressive when they played us, losing 2-0 at the SOL and 1-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium, which holds 15,000, quite a decent number at this level. They could be without their star man however, with a number of clubs, including us, linked with marquee striker John Marquis.
Predicted finish: 7th
The Fishermen finished eleventh last season and won’t be expecting much drama dispute their histrionic manager. We struggled against Joey Barton’s team last year, drawing at home and losing away at Highbury in a relaxed atmosphere as the season drew to a close and players failed to turn up. I don’t think they’ll finish too high this year but won’t be at risk of the drop.
Predicted finish: 13th
The Gills didn’t surprise anyone last season finishing mid table in thirteenth place and we managed to sweep them aside on both occasions we played them, winning 4-1 away and 4-2 at home. When we conceded in the away fixture at Priestfield our fans started singing to Tom Eaves “You’re just a fit Andy Carroll”. They will be hoping to survive again next season, and nobody expects them to be pulling up any trees.
Predicted finish: 14th
The Tractor Boys really struggled in the Championship last term after sacking Mick McCarthy. They finished rock bottom; 13 points adrift. But they might be up there with Sunderland this season and could be promotion rivals. Portman Road holds 30,000 so can be intimidating on its day. We certainly saw that back under Simon Grayson as we were forced to endure a 5-2 drubbing.
Predicted finish: 2nd
The first promoted side, they blew away League Two last year. They look a strong side that could push for the play offs this time and will be looking to emulate Luton.
Predicted finish: 8th
Another promoted side. The Dons came up via the playoffs and will be high on confidence. Their stadium holds 30,000 and is never full which means it can be quite daunting for home players. They’ll be aiming for at least a mid-table finish to build on.
Predicted finish: 16th
The U’s finished mid-table last year but finished the season strongly with the assistance of our flop, Jerome Sinclair. It looks like captain Curtis Nelson is on the way out, leaving a gaping hole in their defence. They will be looking to plug that gap and build on last season’s strong finish.
Predicted finish: 17th
The Posh finished seventh last year and will be disappointed at not getting to the playoffs but will be hoping to bounce back stronger. Of course, last season Bryan Oviedo was sent off for stupidly lashing out and kicking one of their players during the 1-1 draw. The fans will be expecting star man Marcus Maddison to be firing on all cylinders to aid their attempt to get into the Championship.
Predicted finish: 6th
Pompey were our big rivals last year, and that isn’t likely to change next year. Whether it was weird-looking fans fighting Lee Cattermole, or Tom Naylor throwing the ball at Chris Maguire, they didn’t exactly endear themselves with the Sunderland faithful, did they? You can almost guarantee they’ll be in the playoff places and have one of the quickest players in the division in Jamal Lowe. They will want to bounce back from their playoff heartbreak.
Predicted finish: 3rd
The Dale finished sixteenth last year just seven points away from the drop zone. We beat them twice and had a great away day there. They will be aiming for survival once again to solidify their position in the league.
Predicted finish: 18th
The final relegated team from the Championship, The Millers are the ultimate yo-yo team at this level. They’re always up there in League One but never really stand a chance in the Championship.
Predicted finish: 4th
The Shrews had high expectations last season with a talented squad but failed miserably finishing eighteenth. Last season we beat them 2-0 at Montgomery Waters Meadow, before drawing 1-1 at the SOL. Their ground has a capacity of 9,000 and can be a good place to visit; they’ll be hoping to meet their slightly lowered expectations this time around.
Predicted finish: 11th
The team that beat us 2-1 to stay up on the final day of last season; they shouldn’t have high hopes for their season and will be hoping for survival once more as they met a Sunderland side who gave a half-arsed display. Southend didn’t show much quality throughout the season, finishing 19th.
Predicted finish: 21st
Micky Mellon’s team came up through the playoffs and will probably struggle this season. They finished sixth in League Two and are likely to go straight back down. Historically we seem to struggle against Rovers particularly away. To be fair, Tranmere have come an incredibly long way since the days when they were in non-league. No matter how they do this season Micky Mellon can be proud of the job he’s done.
Predicted finish: 23rd
The Chairboys struggled in their season following promotion and finished seventeenth. Last year we drew with them 1-1 twice, including a bizarre brawl at the end of the match at Adams Park. Wankers…
Predicted finish: 20th