The Seventy Two Unfortunates League 1 Preview
The third of our posts supplementing our season preview bonanza in NPowersville centres upon League 1 and how the division rivals the white stuff for deepness, crispness and even-ness.
Reading through the 24 contributions to our spanking pdf (click on the inset below) left me somewhat bewildered. While other classifications promise some element of predictability due to the influence of money – see West Ham and Leicester’s sometimes unseemly spending rush in the Championship and Crawley’s League 2 buying power – the clubs stuck in the middle are jostling at the start gate with some optimism.
Where bigger clubs are competing, they seem beset by problems – both Sheffields United and Wednesday appear troubled with the Ched Evans affair just the latest ignominy to befall the Blades, while the Owls are coming off the back of a miserable 2010-11.
But if our correspondent Chris Ledger from the brilliant Obscure Music and Football feels a play off spot is likely, I would nonetheless expect Wednesday to dust themselves down and challenge – mainly due to the robust management style of the “Ginger Mourinho”, Gary Megson and his canny offloading of underperformers such as Darren Potter.
Across Yorkshire, one team does stand out – Huddersfield Town are tipped by nigh on everyone apart from their own scribe, Football Charlie. The Terriers have only lost one match so far in 2011 – the play-off final against Peterborough and the majority of those wins and draws were achieved minus Anthony Pilkington – so the doom-mongers who are pronouncing his absence as transformative could be more optimistic.
But if anyone who follows English lower division football knows anything, it’s that an unheralded XI will always feature and the only difference this year is that more than one such club could be amid the tussle. Brentford under Uwe Rösler and Exeter City under the increasingly impressive Paul Tisdale aided by Steve Perryman are two that stand out although an MK Dons side we reluctantly decided to give house room in our preview would probably be the pick of any betting cognoscenti. I myself would have plumped for Chesterfield after their stunning promotion, although Craig Davies will be much missed.