Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News

SEASON PREVIEW

14 July 2022

With just over two weeks until the Reds get underway at Plymouth Argyle, we take a look at our opponents in Sky Bet League One.

Here are the first five teams forming part one...

ACCRINGTON STANLEY
Last season: 12th (League One)
Manager: John Coleman
Stadium: Wham Stadium (62 miles)

It was a steady 21/22 campaign for the Lancashire outfit as they secured a mid-table finish under long-serving manager John Coleman, who is now entering his ninth season in charge at Wham Stadium.

Three defeats in November saw Stanley slip to 17th in League One – their lowest position all term – but they were never in any danger of being embroiled in a relegation scrap, or of challenging further up the division, for that matter.

Accrington won just over half of their home fixtures last season, with a 1-0 victory over eventual promotion winners Rotherham United at the end of December perhaps the standout result.

However, it was form on the road that proved to be Accy’s downfall as they lost 15 on their travels and shipped 49 goals. Heavy defeats at Oxford United, Burton Albion, Portsmouth and Plymouth Argyle saw Coleman’s side concede 17 times and net just once.

The Reds won both fixtures against Accrington during the 18/19 campaign, with a 2-0 away win in November followed up by the same scoreline four months later at Oakwell.

BOLTON WANDERERS
Last season: 9th (League One)
Manager: Ian Evatt
Stadium: University of Bolton Stadium (57 miles)

Following their promotion from League Two the season before last, it was another positive 12 months for a side that was an established Premier League club a decade ago. Their decline has been well documented, but the Trotters now appear to be very much on the up once more.

After slumping to 18th in mid-January, Bolton turned their fortunes around and lost just three more games before the campaign drew to a close – picking up 47 points in their final 22 outings.

Within that run of form was an emphatic 6-0 victory at home to Sunderland, where 14-goal top scorer Oladapo Afolayan was on target.

A similar record this term will surely be enough for Wanderers to claim at least a play-off berth as they aim to return to the second tier after a four-year absence.

We met Bolton in last season’s Carabao Cup first round, with the Trotters edging that particular encounter via a penalty shootout. Our previous league skirmishes were during the 17/18 campaign, with Wanderers winning one before the spoils were shared at Oakwell in a 2-2 draw.

BRISTOL ROVERS
Last season: 3rd (League Two)
Manager: Joey Barton
Stadium: Memorial Ground (185 miles)

We’ve had our fair share of final day drama, but as unbelievable and freakish results go, it’s hard to look past Rovers’ extraordinary 7-0 triumph over Scunthorpe United back in May, which sparked a mass pitch invasion and ended in the 115th minute.

They needed to better Northampton Town’s result by five goals to secure an immediate return to League One and, with the Cobblers 3-1 ahead against Barrow at half-time, the play-offs seemed inevitable for the Pirates.

The southwest outfit, who bagged a dramatic late winner at Rochdale on the penultimate weekend, scored five times in less than half an hour to clinch the most incredible promotion.

With 18 goals to his name in all competitions, Aaron Collins finished at Rovers’ top scorer last term, while Antony Evans – product of Everton’s academy – reached double figures from midfield in an impressive first season at the Memorial Ground.

We lost our last meeting with the Gas on the final day of the 18/19 campaign, but the result was secondary as Reds players and fans celebrated promotion to the Championship. Barnsley won the previous meeting that season 1-0 at Oakwell.

BURTON ALBION
Last season: 16th (League One)
Manager: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Stadium: Pirelli Stadium (66 miles)

It was a second consecutive 16th place finish for the Brewers last term under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, with the Staffordshire outfit about to embark on only their 14th campaign in the Football League.

Two of those, of course, were in the Championship, with Burton and the Reds both suffering relegation to the third tier at the end of the 17/18 season.

Consistently inconsistent would perhaps be the best way to describe Albion’s form during the 21/22 campaign, with their best spell coming in the opening weeks as they recorded three consecutive victories and suffered just one defeat in their first seven outings.

They were in and around the top six, but never hit those heights again as the Brewers eventually slid down the table.

There was no real danger of being dragged into a relegation battle, with Hasselbaink’s side having enough know-how to eke out results – home draws against Plymouth Argyle, Wigan Athletic and a well-earned win over Rotherham United late in the campaign were demonstrations of their quality.

Our last trip to the Pirelli Stadium saw us suffer a 3-1 defeat in April 2019, while the reverse fixture at Oakwell ended in a 0-0 stalemate two months prior.

CAMBRIDGE UNITED
Last season: 14th (League One)
Head Coach: Mark Bonner
Stadium: Abbey Stadium (135 miles)

You have to travel back three decades to the last time we faced the U’s in what was a Division One clash at Oakwell in March 1993, with Barnsley running out 2-0 winners having also triumphed at the Abbey Stadium earlier in the campaign.

Cambridge spent nine years out of the Football League from 2005 to 2014 and, after eventually earning promotion from League Two a couple of seasons ago, secured an impressive mid-table finish last term.

Within their ranks is former Manchester United youth prospect Sam Smith who, having spent seven years at Reading – including six different loan spells away from the Royals – completed a permanent move to Cambridge at the start of last term and impressed with 21 goals in all competitions.

As well as their comfortable league position, the U’s also enjoyed a giant killing in the Emirates FA Cup third round as they overcame Premier League Newcastle United 1-0 at St James’ Park.

In Mark Bonner, Cambridge have a Head Coach who has come through the ranks at the club, having worked in a number of roles within their academy before progressing to the first team set-up in January 2018, eventually taking charge in March 2020.


Advertisement block