I’m back with my preview of 8 more teams in League One. The teams I cover this time are: Port Vale, Preston North End, Rochdale, Scunthorpe United, Sheffield United, Swindon Town, Walsall, and Yeovil Town.
Port Vale – 2013/2014 Position: 9th
Port Vale (sorry IanCransonsKnees, can’t make the reference) had a surprising first season back in League One after getting promoted from League Two. The Vale are looking to solidify their League One status. Micky Adams strengthened their side this season by signing a pair of Northern Ireland internationals Ryan McGivern and Michael O’Connor. Former Premier League midfielder Michael Brown has signed on as a player/coach for the team. The bookies don’t have much hope for the team this season, however they were able to reach 9th last season with a -14 goal difference. If their defensive signings can provide some needed relief then I expect the team to be a top half finisher.
Preston North End – 2013/2014 Position: 5th
The Lilywhites fell short in last year’s playoff and will be looking to fight for automatic promotion this season. If their preseason games are any indicator to their potential then their fans will be very happy this season. Preston North End beat Burnley 2-1 and drew Leicester City 1-1. Goal scoring machine Joe Garner is back for his final year under contract and forward Paul Gallagher is back on loan from Leicester City. Northern Ireland forward Andrew Little was signed in the summer transfer window. It doesn’t look like goals will be a problem for Preston North End this season. After the expired loan of goalkeeper Declan Rudd, The Lilywhites needed to find a replacement and they found it in former Leyton Orient man Jamie Jones. Expect Simon Grayson’s men to be in or around an automatic promotion place this season.
Rochdale – 2013/2014 Position: 3rd (Promoted from League Two)
New boys Rochdale A.F.C. had a good season last year in League Two. However, I doubt they will able to replicate that success, even to the point of staying up. They sold striker Scott Hogan to Championship side Brentford for $1.2 million. So far Rochdale has been able to keep their other top striker from last season, Ian Henderson, but he didn’t have the efficiency that Hogan brought. Manager Keith Hill has brought in a couple of strikers in on a free, Calvin Andrew and Jack Muldoon. Keep an eye on Muldoon, as this is his first taste of professional football after bagging 21 goals for Evo-Stik League Premier Division side Worksop Town. Hill might be able to turn him into a great scorer like he did Hogan. Sadly, unless Rochdale does some more business and spends some of that money they earned they won’t stay up this season.