The opening weekend is days away and it's time to take a deep dive into how the Sky Bet League One 2022/23 campaign is looking...
Last year marked two decades at the helm for management duo John Coleman and Jimmy Bell across separate spells, and the two continue to keep Stanley performing, as does Sean McConville, who topped the League One assist charts in 2021/22.
The arrival of Michael Duff marks the start of a new era at Oakwell. The former Cheltenham Town boss has already picked up some impressive additions, including winger Nicky Cadden, who was named in the Sky Bet League Two Team of the Season, and 2019 League Two Player of the Season James Norwood.
📸 The Gaffer. pic.twitter.com/fXihWy77n6— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) June 15, 2022
Ian Evatt’s side settled back into life in League One last season and the Trotters boss will be hoping Wanderers can kick on after going eight unbeaten as the curtain came down on last term. The return of James Trafford on loan from Manchester City is a statement of intent.
It’s unlikely that this season will be quite as eventful as last campaign for the Gas, after winning promotion in unbelievable fashion on the final day on goals scored. Members of that squad, including the influential Antony Evans, are here to stay after inking extensions.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink enters his third season at this level with the Brewers, who placed 16th last year, having added five new faces to his squad this year to date, including midfielder Davis Keillor-Dunn from Oldham Athletic.
Mark Bonner steered the U’s to their best League finish since 1994 last year, ending the campaign sitting in 14th. Bonner has held on to the nucleus of his squad, including Dimitar Mitov, George Williams, Paul Digby, Harvey Knibbs, Adam May, Sam Smith and Joe Ironside.
Ben Garner’s recruitment drive has seen the former Swindon Town boss poach Jack Payne, Jojo Wollacott and Mandela Egbo from his former team whilst the arrivals of Conor McGrandles from Lincoln City and Eoghan O'Connell from Rochdale will strengthen the Addicks.
Wade Elliott will have a chance to make the head coach role his own following Duff’s departure, but he has big shoes to fill. The Robins have enjoyed success in recent years, including their highest-ever finish last season and a first League title in 2021/22.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane is a huge coup for the Rams as they gear up for the new campaign, whilst the arrival of David McGoldrick from Sheffield United provides experience for Liam Rosenoir.
The Grecians are gearing up for a season in League One for the first time in over 10 years after clinching automatic promotion last season, going up as runners-up from League Two, and Matt Taylor has held on to key members of that promotion-winning squad.
Now the longest-serving side in the division, the Cod Army avoided relegation last season to preserve that title. Fleetwood have some up and coming talent in their ranks including last term’s Young Player of the Year, Paddy Lane, in his first season in professional football.
Forest Green Rovers
Ian Burchnall has replaced Rob Edwards at the helm at the Fully Charged New Lawn and has already set out replacing some of Forest Green’s departees who helped the Gloucestershire side seal the title last season, including Kane Wilson who made the switch to Bristol City.
Tractor Boys head coach Kieran McKenna took up his post in Suffolk mid-way through last season and the Northern Irishman has his first full season in the EFL ahead of him, having added striker Freddie Ladapo and attacker Marcus Harness among a handful of new players.
After losing Michael Appleton to Blackpool, Mark Kennedy was appointed as Imps head coach on a four-year deal in the summer after a spell as Lee Bowyer’s assistant head coach at Birmingham City.
Milton Keynes Dons
Liam Manning’s side challenged for a top-two berth for the most part of last season, but a Play-Off Semi-Final defeat and the sales of Scott Twine and Harry Darling haven’t broken their stride, as fan favourite Will Grigg became one of the boss’ most recent permanent acquisitions.
With their maiden season in League One done and dusted, Cole Stockton, who tallied 23 League goals last season, remains a Shrimps player as it stands. He Stockton stays he will be key to Derek Adams' side having a successful campaign.
After making the Play-Offs for the past two years running, last seasons, the U’s failed to qualify, falling seven points short of a top six finish. Karl Robinson has brought Yanic Wildschut, who made the 2015/16 League One Team of the Year, back into the English football fold, and tied Cameron Brannagan down to a new deal.
Jonson Clarke-Harris has been handed the captain’s armband by Grant McCann ahead of the campaign, after the striker, whose goals fired Peterborough to promotion in 2020/21, notched 31 goals in 45 appearances the last time out in League One.
Ryan Lowe’s exit dealt the Pilgrims’ promotion push a blow last season, but Steven Schumacher now has the chance to build his own team, bringing in the League Two Young Player of the Year Finn Azaz from Aston Villa and former England Under-20s international Morgan Whittaker.
Vale are still coming down from a Wembley victory to earn promotion back to League One but the hard work starts again and the Valiants could take that momentum into this season, with Darrell Clarke leading them into battle.
The Cowley brothers are something of silverware specialists, including five promotions. Pompey have completed deals for two players for undisclosed fees: Zak Swanson from Arsenal and Colby Bishop from Accrington.
🗣️ Speaking at the @UtilitaFootball Festival at @PompeyITC on Monday, @Pompey boss Danny Cowley looks ahead to 2022/23...#EFL | #EFLSeasonLaunch pic.twitter.com/1MBvEtyUBn— Sky Bet League One (@SkyBetLeagueOne) July 27, 2022
The Owls have made some smart signings in the transfer window, picking up last season’s standout performers Michael Smith and Michael Ihiekwe from Rotherham United and stopper David Stockdale from Wycombe, whilst also attracting midfielder Will Vaulks to Hillsborough.
How many goals will this man get for you this season, @swfc fans?#EFL | #SkyBetLeagueOne pic.twitter.com/ZQkVEfUAB3— Sky Bet League One (@SkyBetLeagueOne) June 22, 2022
An 18th-placed finish last year gave Salop something to build on this year and they appear to have done that with the likes of defender Chey Dunkley, attacker Aiden O’Brien and midfielder Jordan Shipley coming through the door.
With Gareth Ainsworth committing to extending his stay at Adams Park until 2025, the Chairboys appear to have the experience to put their Play-Off Final defeat behind them, although they’ll have to do it without Akinfenwa Adebayo, who hung up his boots last season.