With the season approaching the half-way stage, we take an in-depth look at who could be the League One winners and losers this season.
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The main question at the top of the table is whether Scunthorpe United can continue to old off the big boys. The Irons remain top of the table but their form has suffered in recent weeks and they now have the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United breathing down their necks.
Even though Scunthorpe have the likes of Tom Hopper and Paddy Madden in their line-up, it’s the form of Josh Morris that remains key. If they should lose their top scorer in the transfer window, it would be a severe blow. For that reason, it may be that come the end of the season it’s the big two – Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers – in the top spots.
It’s still very tight in the play-off places. One of the top three will drop in while Bradford City also look to be strong contenders. Otherwise it looks pretty tight and very much up for grabs at the moment.
Outsiders for the play-offs
Charlton Athletic have appointed a proven manager in former MK Dons boss Karl Robinson and are making steady progress up the table. They possess proven goalscorers in Nicky Ajose and Josh Magennis while Ademola Lookman is probably the hottest property in League One right now. Charlton’s London neighbours Millwall are also a strong outfit. Unlike Athletic, Millwall have experience with prolific pairing Steve Morison and Lee Gregory proven upfront.
Both sides have problems off the pitch but don’t count either out of the play-off places.
Out of the bottom three, it’s probably Oldham Athletic who should be the most fearful right now. Lacking quality at both ends of the pitch and with an inexperienced manager, it really doesn’t look good for the Latics.
Shrewsbury Town have recently changed managers so the jury will be out while Chesterfield do appear to have proven quality so their appearance in the bottom section is something of a surprise.
Of the pack, Coventry City seem to be on a relentless downwards spiral and it would be no surprise if they followed the likes of Portsmouth into the bottom tier.
However, Milton Keynes and Swindon Town arguably have too much quality to be sucked into the relegation zone and both should be safe this season.
Outsiders for relegation
Bury are dropping like a stone, have sacked their manager and are best by financial problems off the pitch. It would come as no surprise if they were to drop into the relegation zone.
Port Vale’s chances
Finally, let’s look at Port Vale’s chances. We think that a lot rides on what happens in the January transfer window. The addition of a proven goalscorer such as Alex Jones could make a huge difference and propel Vale to a play-off place but on the other hand, the loss of a key player such as Jak Alnwick or Nathan Smith could have the opposite effect. It’s therefore fair to say that the jury’s out on Vale’s changes.