English Football League Preview
Football returns as the lower leagues in England start their campaign on Saturday.
Match Previews: First games of the season!
EFL League One
Bolton Wanderers vs MK Dons
Newly promoted Bolton enjoyed a fantastic season in 2020/21, and they’ll look to carry that form into League One. It’s possible that the team does struggle, but they should be comfortable enough to survive in this league and they look as though they’re now on the correct path. They’ve done well in the transfer market, improving their squad all over the pitch and adding to an already good group of players should give this team a lot of hope for good things this season. There are far worse prepared teams in the league, and Bolton could be an underdog.
With only a few days until the season starts, MK Dons have lost their manager Russell Martin to Swansea. It’s come at a terrible time, and the team has to quickly regroup and focus on this game. It’ll be interesting to see if this will spur the team on to play better, or if it’ll have a negative effect as it can do. They’ve added quality with Mo Eisa from Peterborough and the loan signing of Troy Parrott from Tottenham, players that can perform at this level among others. It’s been good recruitment, and playoffs would be the aim when Martin was in charge, but that may change now after his departure.
Sunderland vs Wigan Athletic
Can Sunderland finally get out of this league this season? That same old question has been asked year after year, and they’ve always come up short. They’ve been dragged into the battle every season and they have to get out. They’ve brought in a lot of new faces again for this upcoming season, but whether that will be the answer or not remains to be seen. They could struggle again, but automatic promotion will be the aim. Playoffs haven’t gone well in recent times, but they are capable of going up. Wigan will be a tough opponent, and it’s not a given that Sunderland picks up all 3 points here.
Wigan is looking to mount their own promotion challenge this season after securing some really good players. Players of quality, with the likes of Max Power and Jordan Jones, who both played for Sunderland last season and performed generally well. Wigan won’t want to become stuck in this league also, but playoffs should likely be the aim and it’ll be a huge improvement on last season. They could cause issues for Sunderland here, and it will be a close, intense affair.
EFL League Two
Salford City vs Leyton Orient
Promotion will be the aim for Salford this season, and they’re certainly capable of that. After missing out on playoffs with 2 points last season, they’ve improved again in the transfer market and the quality is there for them to progress. Players like Matty Lund and Josh Morris have performed in League One and they should bring a lot of quality to an already good Salford team. The opening game is tough though as Leyton Orient have their own ambitions, but it should be a good close game that can go either way.
Kenny Jacket taking over at Leyton Orient has shown that this team means business. He’s a proven manager, and at a League Two side, he should be able to take Orient to the next level. The transfer of Darren Pratley looks to be a good signing from Charlton, and they have the team capable of at least mounting a serious challenge and getting playoffs. They’ll come into this one with confidence and they could be a dark horse in the race for promotion.
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