By Riegan Thompson

As the start of the football season draws near, BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism student Riegan Thompson takes a look at the runners and riders in each of English football’s four leagues. Up next, he takes a look at the EFL League One…

League One never fails to excite fans and it certainly promises to do so this season.

Blackburn Rovers suffered relegation from the Championship last season and Tony Mowbray faces the tough task of guiding The Rovers back in to England’s second tier. He’s added Bradley Dack and Ben Gladwin amongst others to his playing squad as they hope to prove the bookmakers right.

Wigan Athletic were also relegated and will be hoping Will Grigg can continue his great form at League One level to fire them to promotion again. Rotherham United were also relegated but will struggle to fight for any of the promotion places this year.

Bradford City were last season’s beaten play-off finalists, and hopes are high heading into the new campaign they can go one better this time around. After going last season unbeaten at home, there is a great foundation in place for the Bantams to challenge once more. Newly promoted Portsmouth will be gunning for successive promotions, and after securing the title on the last day of last season in dramatic fashion, optimism is high amongst Pompey fans.

Bury have recruited well through the summer with the likes of Jermaine Beckford and Nicky Ajose joining. Questions have been asked of how Bury are financing their big names but The Shakers will be hoping their gamble pays off. Fleetwood Town finished fourth last time around and will be aiming for a similar finish this season. The addition of Conor McAleny from Everton, after he impressed last season on loan at Oxford United, could prove a smart addition.

Oldham Athletic and Shrewsbury are the bookmaker’s favourites for relegation but with John Sheridan and Paul Hirst at the helm, both will be confident of avoiding the drop. AFC Wimbledon are also being hotly tipped to go down by many after losing key players through the summer. Walsall, who have one of the lowest budgets in the league, could struggle, and many doubt whether Jon Whitney has the ability to mastermind any sort of survival.

UCFB student and Wigan fan James Pennington, who’s currently studying BA (Hons) Football Business & Media, gave his thoughts on the upcoming season, including a big year for his team.

He said: I think Wigan, Blackburn and Rotherham will be very strong this season. They will want to bounce back into the Championship following relegation. Wigan and Blackburn have new managers who will want to have a good start and fight for the title and go straight back up.”

He added: “Bradford will also do well this season and will be up there fighting for promotion. I think the club are moving in the right direction with both a good squad and the right men behind the scenes.”

On his beloved Latics, James commented: “I’m very confident that Wigan will do well. We’ve got a strong squad for League One and I think the new manager Paul Cook was the right appointment. Hopefully we will be champions and back in the Championship next year.”