Who will win League 1?

Sheffield United unfortunately lost the playoff final last year on penalties against Huddersfield Town and are now facing a second season in League 1. But the team from Yorkshire are the favourites to win promotion and this is a very real possibility as they should really have gone up automatically last year but were just beaten to second place by neighbours Sheffield Wednesday. However, they were beaten yet again on penalties by Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup which will have surely damaged a bit of confidence in the camp. So far they have largely kept the same team as last year so will be very competitive and are rightly the favourites.

 

The nearly men of the division MK Dons will be hoping that this is their year and definitely won’t want to go through playoff heartache again. The play the best football in the league and love to pass the ball and Karl Robinson has to be given a lot of credit for that but at times they do seem to lack another option which cost them at times. The signing of Ryan Lowe could be crucial as he is a very good finisher and even though things didn’t quite go right for him at Sheffield Wednesday, I think he will suit his new clubs style of play.

Newly promoted Swindon Town are also considered one of the leading clubs in the division this year and with Paolo Di Canio in charge anything can happen there as he always demands the best from his players and his methods even though they can be slightly unorthodox seem to be doing the trick. The signing of James Collins and Andy Williams could prove to be a stroke of genius as they were brilliant defensively last year but didn’t have that striker to get 20 goals which they will need to get promoted from this league.

Bournemouth under Paul Groves could be considered contenders because they have a decent squad but I am still slightly surprised that so many teams are backing them because they don’t have a striker that has really scored a lot of goals in League 1 and their top scorer last year was Marc Pugh who got 12 goals. The team maybe didn’t quite live up to their chairman’s expectations last year so he will be wanting to see an improvement this time around.

Relegated Coventry City seem to have the best chance of all the teams that came down from the Championship last year to return at the first time of asking and this is definitely a make or break season for manager Andy Thorn who had to work with a lot of young players last year. Maybe they were always doomed because of this but Thorn definitely needs to put up a challenge if he wants to keep his job. They have signed a few decent players this summer, some with experience in Kevin Kilbane and others that had been tipped for big things like John Fleck so if they can get the right blend then the good times could return.

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Who will be Bournemouth’s next manager?

Bournemouth have sacked their manager Lee Bradbury only a week after club chairman Eddie Mitchell said they were making progress and was happy with the club’s current position in League 1.

Bournemouth are currently 12th in League 1

However a run of six defeats in eight games was enough for Mitchell and he has placed Paul Groves and Shaun Brooks in charge until the end of the season which will at least give them a chance to impress. With the club being in no danger of relegation this season, the players can relax and maybe these two will motivate them and get them to play good football again. This could lead to them getting the job permanently.

However, there are other managers in the frame for the job and the first that comes to my mind is Sean O’Driscoll because he is a very good manager and has been out of work for quite a while now after leaving Doncaster. He has already had a spell as manager of Bournemouth so he knows the place and should settle down pretty quickly into the role. He managed them for 326 games, winning 118 of them and he also got them promoted to League 1 in the 2002-03 season through the playoffs. After leaving Bournemouth he achieved even more success at Doncaster and was constantly praised by pundits and fans alike for the way his team played. He got them promoted to the Championship and also won the Football League Trophy. He should be a fans favourite because he has spent a large part of his life involved with the club as he spent a large part of his playing career at the club too, pulling on the shirt 423 times. The only problem is that he is currently working as a coach at Nottingham Forest who may not be prepared to let him go on a free and Bournemouth probably do still need a cheap option.

So if they are looking for a cheap option maybe Brian Laws will be in with a shout because he like O’Driscoll has won promotions throughout his managerial career and this is what Bournemouth will be aiming for next season. The former Sheffield Wednesday manager has been without a club since leaving Burnley and will probably be looking for a way back into football and Bournemouth could be something that interests him. He has a lot of experience and has a win record of 36.35% in his career which is not bad and maybe good enough for League 1.

Lee Clark is another name I will mention because in my opinion he was harshly treated by Huddersfield and will come back a better manager because of it. He has a lot of potential and could be a very good manager in the future and possibly manage right at the highest level. However, he needs to make sure his next job is the right one or it could cripple him. This job could be perfect as it would be similar to the job he was doing at Huddersfield and if they don’t get promoted this year, I am sure he will want to get one over on his former employers and at Bournemouth he will have the opportunity to do that.

I thought Bradbury was harshly sacked but the club have to move on and there are quite a lot of good managers out of work at the moment and if they make the right decision then next season could be very successful for them and with all of the recent financial problems it would be remarkable to see them playing in the Championship.