Nigel Clough names the teams who could surprise Sunderland in League One promotion battle next season

Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough is expecting an open promotion battle in League One next season.

Monday, 24th June 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 24th June 2019, 11:45 am

Clough, born in Sunderland, is hoping that his side can push for the play-offs after missing out last season.

Inconsistency cost them on their return to League One but their excellent record against the top teams hinted at promise for a push this time around.

Nigel Clough is expecting an open battle for promotion in League One next season

They took four points from the Black Cats last season.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Clough believes ‘half the teams’ in the division will be targeting the top six, and has named a number of teams he thinks can make an impact.

Lincoln City are expected to be strong after winning promotion from League Two, while Clough also believes Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town will bounce back from underwhelming campaigns.

“Lincoln will be the strongest of the promoted teams, without a doubt, and will be looking to challenge straightaway,” he told Derbyshire Live.

"I think when you look through the League, more than half the teams will fancy their chances of the top six.

"Bolton Wanderers will start with a points deduction [after entering into administration] which will make it difficult but still possible to reach the play-offs.

"But certainly Ipswich, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Peterborough United, Doncaster Rovers, Coventry City, Oxford United and all these sorts of teams will expect to be up there.

“I think Shrewsbury Town as well, with all their signings, might be having a go,” he added.

"The way Oxford finished last season means they will be strong and the bigger clubs like Bristol Rovers, if it clicks for them, there is certainly a possibility - and Blackpool have new owners and will be an interesting prospect as well.

"There are some big clubs in League One who were in the Premier League not so long ago. It will be competitive certainly and it looks a tough one when you look at it on paper."