The English Football League’s three divisions kick off this weekend and one has identified one team in each section that may struggle to avoid the dreaded drop this season.
Yeovil is a fair bet to be one of the two sides relegated from English League Two, with most bookmakers rating the Glovers less vulnerable than Crawley, Morecambe and Newport. Yeovil has been in the English Football League since 2003 but, unless the Glovers improve on what they did in the second half of last term, they are likely to exit England’s fourth tier.
Leyton Orient was the biggest basketcase in English football last season, dropping out of English League Two with just 10 wins in its 46 matches. Leyton Orient was the only English League Two team that accrued fewer points over the second half of last term than Yeovil, with the Glovers earning 20 points from their three wins, 11 draws and nine losses. In fact, Yeovil won just three of its last 27 English League Two games and Glovers manager Darren Way has seen a few of his side’s most talented performers leave Huish Park.
Yeovil supporters have been accustomed to watching their team struggle because the Glovers have four-season form figures of 24th, 24th, 19th and 20th. Losing is a habit, Yeovil’s squad is short on quality and neither Lincoln nor Forest Green looks likely to struggle following their promotions from the English National League. Yeovil are available at odds of +500 with Coral, SunBets and Winner Sports to suffer the drop.
Walsall was one of only two English League One sides not to win away from home in the second half of last term and the Saddlers are likely to continue to deteriorate under their inexperienced physiotherapist turned boss, Jon Whitney.
The Turkish Messi, Erhun Oztumer, was easily Walsall’s top goal scorer from midfield last season and, if the former Peterborough playmaker had not been so prolific, notching several out-of-this-world strikes, the Saddlers would have gone from the top three to the bottom four in the space of one English League One season. Walsall’s roster is weaker than it was last term, with the Saddlers losing goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and defender Jason McCarthy to clubs which pay higher salaries. Walsall’s reinforcements have arrived from English League Two and Scotland’s lower divisions and Whitney, who succeeded Dean Smith when the Ginger Mourinho moved to Brentford, has not won over many of his critics.
Walsall is trading at odds of +275 with Coral to slide into English League Two, the division which the Saddlers won in 2007 under Richard Money, also known as Dickie Dosh.
More speculatively, Bristol City is available at odds of +700 with Paddy Power to bow out of the English Championship. Bristol City boss Lee Johnson has pinned all of his club’s hopes on new signing Famara Diedhiou, the former Angers striker on whom the Robins spent more than five million British pounds. If it had not been for Tammy Abraham’s goals last season, Bristol City would have ended up in English League One – Abraham returned to his parent club, Chelsea, during the summer months before agreeing a loan deal with Swansea. Diedhiou, who has represented Senegal at senior international level, netted only eight goals in 31 appearances for Angers last term and one is willing to wager that he will find the English Championship more testing than French Ligue 1.
Yeovil to be relegated from League Two
Walsall to be relegated from League One
Bristol City to be relegated from the Championship