After 14 long weeks the football league returns this weekend with 72 teams in action.
In League Two newly promoted Luton Town hope to continue with their fantastic momentum from last season and get off to a good start. Cambridge United will also hope for a positive return to the Football League. Ever wonder what happened to former Manchester United Luke Chadwick (below)?
You will see him plying his trade with Cambridge in the league this season. So often new clubs in the football league fair well, Newport for example were in a real fight for the play off places until their season tailed away with fixture postponements and injuries. Other teams hoping for a promotion push include Portsmouth, who some brand too big for the league with crowds averaging 15,000 last season. York City brought in reinforcements at New Year and had a decent finish to the season, they too will be looking to push on this year. Shrewsbury Town, after being relegated from League One have signed a staggering 16 players. Time will tell if the new team sheet will pay dividends.
In League One relegated Doncaster, Barnsley and Yeovil Town will all be out to prove themselves. Yeovil failed miserably in the Championship after a couple of seasons of perhaps overachieving. League Two winners from last season Chesterfield, who have been known to bounce around between the divisions, will be looking to consolidate. Bristol City had a few moments of panic last season as they found themselves dragged towards the bottom of the table, but the arrival of experienced manager Steve Cotterill reignited their season and saw them finish in a solid 12th place. If Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Sam Baldock (below) can match the strike rate of last season, they could be one of the favourites for automatic promotion having scored 47 goals between them last term, behind only Suarez/Sturridge and Aguero/Negredo as the most prolific strike partnership.
The Championship is often labelled as the most difficult league to get out of, with the holy grail of the Premier League tantalisingly close and so many big name clubs in it’s ranks. Relegated Cardiff City are 5/2 to go straight back up and will be looking for a strong start. New signing Adam Le Fondre should add the cutting edge that City lacked last year. Fulham are also one of the favourites to bounce straight back up. Ross McCormack cost the club £11m from Leeds United, so the pressure will be on him to provide the necessary firepower. Millwall will be anxious to avoid another relegation scrap, while newly promoted Brentford with be optimistic about their chances having managed to capture highly rated winger Moses Odubajo. Rotherham obtained promotion through the play offs, with goalkeeper Adam Collin (below) the hero in a penalty shoot out, and will be hoping to get off to a good start.
League One champions Wolves will look to carry their momentum into the new campaign, while Birmingham City, having narrowly avoided relegation last season, will be hoping for better fortunes this term. Manager Lee Clark has been working hard to add to, and revitalise, his squad.
The Football League kicks off Friday evening at 7.45pm as Blackburn Rovers host Cardiff City. The wait is over!