Opposing View: Liam Hoden’s League One Preview part two

Doncaster Rovers logo
Doncaster Rovers logo

AFTER analysing those with genuine aspirations of winning promotion for League One, today I turn my attention to the sides who look set to struggle this term.

Again, let us know what you think by commenting below or tweeting us using @liamhodenDFP.


The fact Portsmouth will kick off the season on Saturday represents something of a miracle.

But the state they are likely to be in this weekend suggests the miracle may be yet to come even if that laudable fighting spirit can be maintained.

Michael Appleton’s squad is far from complete and no where near ideal given they begin by playing catch-up with a ten point deduction.

Bury were left in disarray by the departure of boss Richie Barker to Crawley, ensuring a renewed survival battle hardly gets off on the right foot.

Another season of struggle was likely anyway, given little improvement to the squad though winger Marcus Marshall is a good addition.

Barker’s former assistant Peter Shirtliff has taken charge on a caretaker basis meaning no major bedding in period will be required but the tools at his disposal may not be sufficient enough to avoid struggle.

Ronnie Moore’s priority will be to steady the Tranmere Rovers ship after inspiring an escape act last season.

But his hopes of doing that have been hit by the loss of player of the year David Buchanan and skipper John Welch to Preston.

A permanent deal for impressive young Everton loanee James Wallace has boosted Moore’s cause but in a very competitive division, that may not be sufficient.

Gary Johnson faces a similar task to Moore at Yeovil Town and has spent the summer mixing experience in with a plethora of young talent.

Johnson has had to cope with the departures of star men Andy Williams and Paul Huntington and knows the experience provided by ex-Rovers striker James Hayter and Reuben Reid will be vital if the Glovers are to avoid struggle.

Walsall have gone through major changes this summer with more than a dozen experienced bodies heading out of the door.

A tight budget means boss Dean Smith must turn to youth and the lack of experience suggests another season teetering on the brink.

Financial restraints at Oldham Athletic have ensured a summer of change for boss Paul Dickov with several players tempted away by better offers.

Dickov has used the loan market well to bring in experience in Lee Croft from Derby and potential in former Sheffield United striker Jordan Slew from Blackburn, who will bear much of the scoring burden.

Oldham stayed away from trouble in the most part last season but they looked very fragile at times and continued poor resources may see an end to their 16 year stay in the third tier.

Russell Slade’s priority at Leyton Orient is to improve the division’s worst home form and he has opted for solid performers in his bid for consolidation.

Pressure will be intense on Slade to avoid struggle and a poor start could see him first on the managerial casualty list.