||[Aug. 4th, 2006|10:56 am]
Christ, it's 2006/07 tomorrow! The return of football, or for a skint sofa-bound Jon, the return of Jeff Stelling and his merry band of ex-footballers! Okay, most leagues aren't starting until next week or even the week after, and it's already started in Scotland, but never mind. Anyway, I have tried my hand at predicting how things are going to end up.|
2) West Brom
I know the play-off places look a bit random there, but a lot of the strong teams from last season like Crystal Palace have had big changes this summer, so I reckon some of last season's underachievers will make it instead. I think Southampton could get there under George Burley, and that Derby could have a decent season under Billy Davies, but it's really hard to call as there are a load of teams that could get there.
3) Nottingham Forest
4) Bristol City
Pretty much anyone could get in the top six of League One this season, it's that wide open. Lots of teams have been spending money, with Millwall going a bit nuts and signing something like 15 players, while Brighton and Crewe have kept much the same squad they had in the Championship last season and should come up with some sort of challenge. Pretty much anyone could get relegated, so I haven't even bothered trying to predict the relegation spots.
5) MK Dons
Hartlepool have much the same squad that they were relegated with last season, but they're stable and a lot of those players got them into the League One playoffs in 2005, so they could well win this. Swindon have a good squad and a big lift in Dennis Wise taking over, while Peterborough might do well under Keith Alexander. For some reason I just feel that Accrington Stanley are going to come straight back down and the Conference playoff winners Hereford will do alright - it seems to be the pattern, too. Bury don't have much money and a young squad, and look ready for relegation to me.