How Ipswich Town, Portsmouth, Charlton Athletic and Sunderland's other promotion rivals are shaping-up ahead of the League One season

The new League One season promises to be one of the most competitive yet - with Sunderland one of a host of clubs vying for promotion.

Sunday, 13th June 2021, 8:00 am

Several former Premier League clubs will be competing in the third tier during the 2020/21 campaign, meaning the title race is sure to be a fascinating watch.

But how are the teams being tipped for promotion shaping-up ahead of the new season? We take a look…

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How Ipswich Town, Portsmouth, Charlton Athletic and Sunderland's other promotion rivals are shaping-up ahead of the League One season
How Ipswich Town, Portsmouth, Charlton Athletic and Sunderland's other promotion rivals are shaping-up ahead of the League One season

Current title odds: 7/1

Manager: Darren Moore

Ins: None

Outs: Joost van Aken, Kadeem Harris, Elias Kachunga, Tom Lees, Matt Penney, Moses Odubajo, Joey Pelupessy, Adam Reach, Jordan Rhodes, Keiren Westwood

After their final day relegation from the Championship, Wednesday’s summer has largely focused on off-field matters.

The high-profile wage dispute - which has reportedly seen some players go three months without being paid in full or on time - is thought to be edging closer to being resolved, but has been a cloud hanging over Hillsborough.

Boss Moore is a savvy operator and knows League One well, but he is likely to be limited to free agent and loan signings this summer.

There could be some major squad turnover this summer, and Moore will have to ensure his new-look side gel quickly if a promotion push is the ambition.

CHARLTON ATHLETIC

Current title odds: 9/1

Manager: Nigel Adkins

Ins: None

Outs: Deji Oshilaja, Darren Pratley, Andrew Shinnie

The Addicks enjoyed a strong end to the season, and the arrival of Nigel Adkins - coupled with a productive January transfer window - meant the side only narrowly missed out on the play-off places.

With new owner Thomas Sandgaard now firmly in place, it will be interesting to see how well-backed Charlton are this summer.

In Adkins they have a good manager, and some extra additions - particularly to fill the void left by loan striker Jayden Stockley - could see the London side in contention come May.

But having released just three players, it’s unlikely to be a transformative summer at the Valley. That continuity could prove useful.

IPSWICH TOWN

Current title odds: 9/1

Manager: Paul Cook

Ins: Wes Burns, Lee Evans

Outs: Cole Skuse, Luke Chambers, Alan Judge, Stephen Ward, Freddie Sears, James Wilson, Emyr Huws, Tristan Nydam, Gwion Edwards

One of the busiest sides in the window so far, the Tractor Boys have been backed by their new American owners - and aren’t afraid to splash the cash.

Wes Burns and Lee Evans are two players who will be able to hit the ground running and the club have also been linked with proven strikers such as Charlie Wyke and Colby Bishop.

Cook is set to rebuild the Ipswich squad over the summer and there will be question marks over how quickly the squad will come together given the sheer number of incomings that are expected.

But with the quality he is reportedly looking to bring in, hopes will be high of a title tilt this season.

PORTSMOUTH

Current title odds: 12/1

Manager: Danny Cowley

Ins: Liam Vincent

Outs: Ben Close, Jack Whatmough, Andy Cannon, Charlie Daniels, Jordy Hiwula, Bryn Morris, Taylor Seymour, Duncan Turnbull

Cowley has been blunt in his assessment of the transfer picture at Fratton Park.

Pompey will be operating under a reduced budget, and a large chunk of that is already committed to existing players.

While others in the promotion picture will no doubt be splashing the cash, that may not be the case on the south coast.

But it would be unwise to rule-out Pompey completely. They have a fairly strong squad as a starting base from which to build from and, in Cowley, have a manager who can develop individuals without having to fork out large sums.

So while their financial firepower may not match some other clubs, Portsmouth will likely still be in the discussion this term.

ROTHERHAM UNITED

Current title odds: 12/1

Manager: Paul Warne

Ins: None

Outs: Billy Jones, Shaun MacDonald, Jamie Proctor, Clark Robertson, Kyle Vassell

The Millers have been a yo-yo side in recent years, and will likely be competing at the top end of League One once again this season.

In Paul Warne, they have a manager who has already won promotion from this division – and their squad looks a strong one.

There will be question marks over whether Rotherham will be able to retain some of their star men, though. Striker Michael Smith has already been linked with several clubs in the Championship while Matt Crooks is thought to be on the radar of Ipswich Town.

But the South Yorkshire side will no doubt be strong competitors, and a side who may go under the radar somewhat amid a chaotic transfer window.

WHO ELSE WILL BE CHALLENGING?

As we saw this season in Lincoln City and Blackpool, there will always be teams who emerge from the pack and spring something of a shock.

The Imps again may be a side to watch in the coming season, while MK Dons could also be an interesting side to observe. Their early recruitment has been strong and if they can retain the likes of Scott Fraser then they will have every chance to play themselves into contention.

Wigan Athletic are in a similar position and have impressed with some of their early transfer dealings, with Jack Whatmough and Gwion Edwards smart additions.

The bookies are also tipping Oxford United, Wycombe Wanderers and newly-promoted Bolton Wanderers to challenge at the top.

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