>Football league seasons preview – by Ian Hodge

>VN is delighted to have its first guest blogger, Ian Hodge*, who is a broadcast journalist at Wave FM in Blackpool. Here, Ian gives his take on who will be soaring and who will be struggling in the 3 divisions of the NPower Football League:



The Football League season is now just hours away, and along with season’s new sponsor, there are the traditional new hopes and predictions from every single fan in the country.

So who’s going to do well is this years NPower Football League? Well you would always say the teams that went down to have a good chance in their new divisions, but this season could be different…

It is always tough dropping down a division; just ask fans of Boro, Leeds, and Forest. But that drop is made doubly difficult when you have to do it with financial constraints on you, but that’s the task facing Portsmouth and Hull in the Championship and Stockport in League 2. You only have to look at the Pompy website to see the state of their first team to get a scale of the task ahead of them. Going straight back up in the era of ‘Credit Crunch’ football is a daunting prospect.

So after the initial prediction of ‘those who go down will do well’ I will try to call just what’s going to happen, and which team’s will surprise us, so here we go…..

Championship

For the first time in a while there are no ‘yo-yo’ clubs in the Championship so it seems fairly open. My money’s on Middlesbrough to do well, they’ve signed two of the best players from the SPL in Kris Boyd and Kevin Thompson, and in Gordon Strachan they have one of the top managers in the division. The two Midlands clubs should be able to build on their performances last season with either Leicester or Forest getting an automatic spot. As for the play offs, well take your pick anyone from about 10 teams, but if Q.P.R are ever going to go up, this is their year.


At the other end of the table I’d expect Scunthorpe, Milwall and Norwich to be down there, but with the financial pressures at Cardiff and Porstmouth I think they could be two surprises to struggle.

Going Up: Boro, Forest, Q.P.R
Going down : Scunthorpe, Millwall, Norwich.


League 1
Finally a season in League 1 where we don’t have to ask if Leeds will finally get out of the division. There are still some ‘big’ teams in the mix though. Southampton have the set up, manager and players to be in the Championship, and in Rickie Lambert they have a player capable of topping the goal scoring charts. I also think Charlton and the recently relegated Sheffield Wednesday will both do well, but I’m going with Huddersfield to spring a bit of a surprise. Lee Clark is a gifted young manager and with the money put into the team in the past two years he has to do well.

Teams to struggle? Tranmere, Orient and Dagenham and Redbridge all have huge tasks ahead to stay in the league. One side that could have serious problems is Oldham, hiring a rookie Boss like Paul Dickov could backfire in spectacular fashion.



Going Up: Southampton, Huddersfield, Charlton
Going Down: Oldham, Tranmere, Orient, Dagenham


League 2
Another league where money issues will play their part in deciding the outcome. A transfer embargo at Southend and the constant money problems at Stockport means they both could find life tough. Rotherham are the  standout team in this division for me. They’ve got a  good manager, a great goal scorer in Adam Le Fondre, and last seasons play-off heartbreak should drive them on. Wycombe are another side you’d expect to do well, and Port Vale ended last season strongly and were unlucky to miss out on a play-off place.

Relegation from League 2 holds the most importance out of all divisions in the Football League, dropping out of it can often lead to years in the wilderness. Stevenage have a mountain to climb to stay up and Barnet will have to improve massively on last season if they want to do the same, but one team that could slip out is Lincoln City, the experiment with Chris Sutton has to start producing results soon.

Going Up: Rotherham, Wycombe, Port Vale
Going Down: Stevenage, Lincoln City.

So there’s a quick overview of the start of the new Football League season, just like Fantasy Football I hope I’ve picked the right ‘dead certs’ and my surprise choices end up coming true. But one thing is for sure this season, players won’t be holding those awful silver replica coke bottles aloft at the end of it.


*The views of guest bloggers are entirely there own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of their employers, virtuallynaked.com, or C.A.H Multimedia.
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One Comment to “>Football league seasons preview – by Ian Hodge”

  1. >Norwich to go down? do your research guys. Watford & Scunthorpe safe bets for relegation. Portsmouth and Hull look shakey for any progression in the next few seasons, Boro, QPR, Reading, Forest will contest top spots, with Leicester, maybe Leeds. Barnsley are my outside Tip for promotion, Mark Robins is a great managerDave T

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