OVF takes a look at Vale’s chances in League One next season and wonders if Vale could be a surprise package in the division next season.
If Tom Pope, Gavin Tomlin and Lee Hughes can find the back of the net on a regular basis who knows, Vale could even be the surprise package in League One…
As much as Vale fans will be hoping for another promotion season and a return to Division One (now the Championship) for the first time in 13 years, the financial clout of some clubs in League One makes that an unlikely prospect.
Even with the momentum of last season’s promotion behind them, the Valiants may struggle to compete against the likes of Wolves, Sheffield United, Milton Keynes Dons, and Bristol City, who are all splashing the cash in the hope of going up.
As such, many fans reading about football online now expect Vale to spend the majority of the season looking over their shoulder in the hope of avoiding an immediate return to League Two. They certainly won’t be alone, with the battle to escape the bottom four likely to involve as many as ten clubs for the majority of the campaign.
The likes of Stevenage, Oldham, and Colchester all narrowly avoided the drop last term, while those clubs who surprised everyone by pushing for promotion, rather than fighting relegation, i.e. Walsall and Tranmere, are not expected to be as strong this time around.
Like Vale, the new boys to League One are also expected to struggle, with Gillingham in particular having yo-yoed between divisions for a few years. Out of the four promoted clubs, Bradford have been tipped to challenge for back-to-back promotions, but that is only on the strength of the money they made during their run to the League Cup final. The Banthams are an enigma and could easily flop as they have done so many times before.
Perhaps the club most likely to struggle is Coventry City. Despite still being considered a ‘big club’, the Sky Blues are up the proverbial creek financially. They are having to play their home games at Northampton and, without a penny to their name, could follow Portsmouth into League Two.
The point of this article is to put at ease the minds of those who will already be panicking about Port Vale’s chances of survival next season. If Micky Adams’s men can take points off the clubs we’ve mentioned then they should be safe.
Next season is likely to be about consolidation, but if Tom Pope, Gavin Tomlin and Lee Hughes can find the back of the net on a regular basis who knows, Vale could even be the surprise package in League One.