There are no certainties when approaching the League One table.
All three relegated Championship sides are in dire straits. No one can be sure when sleeping giants such as Sunderland, Portsmouth and Ipswich will wake up. Everywhere you look, the spectre of financial disaster looms.
After the effects of coronavirus, a season that finishes with 24 teams would be considered a success.
But how might they look? We teamed up with EFL experts the Not The Top 20 Podcast to help us out with our Season Preview issue – on sale in shops and online now.
Looking for other league predictions?
League Two and the Women’s Super League predictions will follow in the coming days.
Some supporters have lost faith in boss Kenny Jackett, but no side picked up more points than Pompey from October 22 last term, so it was only a slow start that held them back.
Their squad remains littered with quality and Jackett is the man to lead it.
2. Peterborough United
Peterborough’s performances in March were as good as any in League One, and they’ll gladly tell you that promotion was inevitable before COVID-19 hit.
Even losing Ivan Toney won’t be a total disaster, due to the usual sound recruitment by Posh.
It’s yet another new dawn at the Stadium of Light, this time with a League One specialist leading the way.
Boss Phil Parkinson was beginning to win over the fans before lockdown, so there’ll be promotion expectations. Steady progress may be more realistic.
4. Fleetwood Town
Beware the wounded Joey Barton, who has over 100 games as manager under his belt, and has shown himself to be more than capable.
Adding Callum Camps from Rochdale is smart business. The Cod Army looks set to challenge for promotion again.
5. Oxford United
The U’s blew their big chance to play in the second tier for the first time this century – they did, however, retain Karl Robinson, whose reputation is rising again.
A young squad’s been bolstered by a permanent arrival for Matty Taylor, who will relish his return.
It’s not hard to be impressed by the recruitment team’s busy work. Pinching Keshi Anderson from Swindon, as well as Jerry Yates – on loan with the Robins last term – is a smart move. Neil Critchley should have squad capable of reaching the play-offs.
7. Ipswich Town
Ipswich handed Paul Lambert a new five-year contract amid poor form in January, yet things only got worse.
Both club and manager appear tasked with making the best of a situation that suits neither. Improvement may come from a summer reset.
8. Doncaster Rovers
Doncaster appeared capable of breaking into the promotion reckoning at times last year, only to be undone by inconsistency.
If Darren Moore is to truly make his mark on the Football League, he will need to address that and replace Kieran Sadlier’s goals.
Steve Evans’ record in this league is as good as…