Now that I'm a bit more flexible in posting stuff from the BEN because of the restrictions they placed on me and others that no longer live in Bolton, I've been able to go back and read it.
My intent is to post one of these for each team we play for the next few months - obviously new transfers (in or out) and injury's, change of managers will effect what they've said - to give us some idea what the locals think about their teams chances.
Name: James Roberts.
Publication: Oxford Mail.
Club: Oxford United.
Key ins: Marcus McGuane, Ryan Williams, Billy Bodin, Steve Seddon.
Key outs: Josh Ruffels, Rob Atkinson, Sean Clare, Kyran Lofthouse.
Reasons for optimism: Two successive play-off finishes show Karl Robinson's United know what is needed to compete at the top end of League One. The four signings to date have all done well in this division before, while some existing players could have big seasons ahead of them - Mark Sykes and Dan Agyei spring to mind. There is no reason to suggest United cannot strengthen in the areas they are light before the end of the transfer window too.
Reasons for caution: The flip side of that last point. United have lost the left-side of last season's defence and, while Steve Seddon looks a decent signing at left back, it would be unfair to expect Luke McNally to continue where Rob Atkinson left off in the middle. At the very least, they need a centre back and another winger. United's Covid outbreak, which left 12 players self-isolating, will not have helped pre-season preparations either and they must start far better than last year - especially with League One looking so strong.
Predicted finish: 9th - Will probably change depending on incomings/outgoings, but feel United will challenge for the play-offs again. There may be too many other decent sides though.
Three to go up: Ipswich, Portsmouth, Wigan.
Four to go down: Cambridge, Cheltenham, Crewe, Morecambe.
Hope for the season: I'm sure everyone will say this, but simply that grounds stay open with full capacity for the whole season. Will never take it for granted again.
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