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Countdown to kick-off: Six intriguing Football League storylines

1 August 2015

With less than a week until the new Sky Bet Football League season gets under way, we consider some of the key storylines ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.

The divisions are world-famous for their delivery of drama and unpredictability, with sub-plots everywhere we turn, but here are six to keep an eye on over the next nine months.

Robins return

It's fair to say Bristol City dominated proceedings in Sky Bet League 1 last term. Having won the division by an eight-point margin, the Robins also lifted the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in March, capping a highly successful season.

Their return to the Championship will be worth keeping an eye on, with manager Steve Cotterill and a host of their first-team players having previously experienced the division in their careers.

Nigel Adkins and Sheffield United

A new era is dawning at Bramall Lane, with experienced manager Nigel Adkins back in the dugout – this time with Sheffield United.

The Blades had a strong 2014/15 campaign, but a dramatic 7-6 Play-Off semi-final defeat to Swindon Town in May ended their promotions hopes.

With Adkins now in charge, they will be among the favourites to go up this time around, thanks to the 50-year-old’s strong Football League record.  He has guided Scunthorpe United, Southampton and Reading to promotions during his career.

The Notts County revival

Notts County's progress in Sky Bet League 2 will be worth monitoring. The Magpies have made an impressive 15 additions this summer, as manager Ricardo Moniz attempts to overhaul the squad that suffered the drop from League 1, in his first full season in charge. 

Among their new recruits is striker Jon Stead. He has been a proven goalscorer in The Football League over the last decade, and one that could be at the forefront of their revival.
Great expectations

Having missed out on the Play-Off places by the narrowest of margins last season, Derby County have certainly made moves to improve on that this term.

Paul Clement arrives at the iPro Stadium for his first season as a manager, following a two-year spell as an assistant coach at Real Madrid. His tenure will be of interest to many, as will the signings of Darren Bent, Jason Shackell, Andreas Weimann and Tom Ince, who have all plied their trade in the Premier League in recent seasons.

Storm brewing?

Burton Albion will be operating at the highest level in their history this season, in Sky Bet League 1.

The Brewers were crowned League 2 champions last term in manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's debut season on the touchline, and fans will be keen to see if the former Chelsea forward cuts it in his first full campaign.

Great players, great managers?

One of football's great clichés - great players don't always make great managers - will be put to the test this season, with Teddy Sheringham at the helm of Stevenage.

Boro finished in the Sky Bet league 2 Play-Off places last term, but have opted for a change in direction with former Manchester United and Tottenham striker Sheringham.
The 49-year-old joins from his coaching role at West Ham United, where he received high amounts of praise for his work with their strikers.

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