Mansfield Town will hold no fears as they prepare to step up to League One.Mansfield Town will hold no fears as they prepare to step up to League One.
Mansfield Town will hold no fears as they prepare to step up to League One.

'Nothing to fear', 'have to come back stronger', 'need more goals' and a 'rude awakening': Here's where we think EVERY League One side will finish next season, including Mansfield Town, Huddersfield Town, Peterborough United, Blackpool and Birmingham City

It’s that exciting time of the year when we can already start thinking about next season.

Clubs are rebuilding their squads, keynote signings are being made and the fans can dream of a great season of football ahead.

Never more has that been the case for Mansfield Town fans, many of whom will never have seen their beloved boys take on League One’s elite.

But, after two decades away, that is the mouth-watering proposition ahead and the prospect of switching the likes of Sutton United, Harrogate Town and Forest Green Rovers for Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town, Charlton Athletic et al.

It is no doubt going to be a huge test for Stags and, after years of winning football, a different mindset will be needed, where blips such as losing three games in a row won’t be the norm but something that needs patience and understanding from the fans as Stags look to consolidate.

Promoted Carlisle United made a right pig's ear of it in League One last season, as did Champions Forest Green Rovers the year before.

It is a fate unlikely to be suffered by Stags, with Leyton Orient (11th last season) and Northampton Town (14th) much more of a benchmark for what can be expected down at the One Call Stadium next season.

Nigel Clough has spent a number of seasons assembling a squad capable of League One football – and one that already has plenty of quality and experience at this level in the likes of Aden Flint, Lucas Akins, Christy Pym and now new signing Lee Gregory, to name but a few.

Clough will be working hard in the coming weeks to add more depth and quality to a squad which showed in style what it is capable of last season. Another promotion campaign won’t be on the agenda, but it is certainly a journey that should hold no fears.

There is some real quality at the top end of League One and another thrilling promotion race will no doubt unfold.

Peterborough United have played some scintillating football on their way to two failed bashes at promotion over the last two seasons. They face an interesting, perhaps even challenging, summer ahead.

They have already lost the influential Ephron Mason-Clark to Coventry City and talented Harrison Burrows looks like sailing off to the Premier League real soon.

New contracts have been offered to Hector Kyprianou and Kwame Poku and Posh’s hopes next season will certainly depend on keeping their best youngsters at London Road for another season.

They are a club packed with raw and improving talent – perhaps a little bit more experience is now the order of the day to finally get them over the line.

It is a similar scenario facing Ian Evatt, who has a few conundrums to solve following Bolton’s remarkable play-off final capitulation to Oxford United.

A reccord-breaking season of 121 goals ended with the Trotters failing to get a single shot on target as they no-showed at Wembley.

Evatt must now find solutions to turn back-to-back play-off failures into that long-desired promotion. By his own admission, Bolton froze on the big stage. It seems some cooler heads and players who can cope with the pressure of expectation will now be on Evatt’s summer shopping list. League newcomers – and League Two champions – showed last season it is more than possible to bounce-back from heart-break under the Wembley arch.

Relegated Championship trio Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United should all feature at the right end of the table this time out.

The two Yorkshire sides go into the season with new managers at the helm, Michael Duff in charge of the Terriers and journeyman manager Steve Evans leading the Millers.

Both bosses have the pedigree to guide their new sides to promotion and Rotherham have already made a great start to their summer business with the signing of Jonson Clarke-Harris following his release from Peterborough.

The hotshot bagged an impressive 78 goals in 166 games for Posh. If he can recapture that form then the Millers will be a tough nut to crack, but, even so, it will still be a big ask for yo-yo side Rotherham to do it yet again.

Birmingham City have lost their way somewhat in recent seasons – how they could do with Jude Bellingham back.

But relegation could well be a good thing for the fallen giants and give them a chance to regroup and come back stronger. City, playing third tier football for the first time in 29 years, will be the biggest club in the league and the one that everyone wants to shoot down, especially at St Andrews.

City – still on the hunt for the right manager to guide them in unfamiliar territory – go into the campaign with the nucleus of last season’s squad. They will certainly have the pulling power to bring some big-hitters to the second city. If they get the big decisions right then the Blues will rise again.

Hollywood Wrexham are tipped highly in the pre-season odds, but perhaps that is more because they are the easy and glamorous bet for the casual punters. They will certainly give it a good go, but promotion three seasons in a row? This isn’t Championship manager.

Perhaps a better bet for the punter looking for value will be to head to the coast and get your quid on Blackpool. The Seasiders ended the season strongly, picking up 26 points from their last 13 games. It wasn’t quite enough to gatecrash the play-off party, but if they maintain that momentum then they will be a good shout for a top six spot this time out.

Charlton could also be worth a few quid on promotion. Nathan Jones can look forward to a first transfer window at the club – and a window in which the Londoners are likely to have some weight. The Addicks also boast last season’s golden boot in Alfie May, who will once again be key to a successful campaign in SE7.

Burton Albion have one of the lowest fan bases and budgets in the whole league and they can expect another tough season ahead. They also have one of the worst attacks (39 goals last season)

It will be a season where the Brewers will fight and scrap for every single point on offer, they will have to, but without more quality in forward areas then a one-way ticket to League Two is on the cards. How ironic it would be if a defeat to Nigel Clough’s Mansfield was the game to send them down.

The same can be said of Cambridge United who have narrowly avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth for the last two seasons. Come in Cambridge, your time is up. Neither side will be helped by the fact that three strong sides will also be stepping up from League Two.

If ever the term punching above your weight applied to anyone it would be Stevenage. They fell just short of a fairytale play-off place this season but, with the loss of Steve Evans and key players most likely to be cherry-picked by bigger teams, Stevenage face a rude awakening ahead.

Another to be punching well above their weight are Crawley Town. Scott Lindsey has done a stunning job, simply stunning. To transform relegation fodder into promotion winners, taking their club to a highest ever position in the process, is the stuff of legends.

He has created Crawley’s best ever team, given the community a first ever trip to Wembley and written himself into club history. Sadly next season will more than likely be a step too far.

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