Note: The plan early in the season is to update these standings about every five weeks or so until much later in the season. We’ll try to highlight the important game that most impact the promotion and relegation zones in these pieces, but also take a look at how teams got to that point in the table.
We are now a little over 10% into the League One season, so here’s an extremely early look at who would be moving up – and down – if the season were to end today.
In League One, the top two teams are automatically promoted to the Championship, with the third- through sixth-place teams competing for promotion via a playoff. After the 2017-2018 season, Wigan Athletic (1st), Bolton Wanderers (2nd), and Rotherham United (playoff winner) earned promotion.
The top of the league table currently looks like this:
Despite not losing or drawing a match, Peterborough United has not quite been able to separate themselves from four teams with 13 points. Sunderland, who were relegated after a last place finish in the Championship last season, are currently holding onto the second spot in the table purely on goal differential, where they lead Portsmouth by two goals.
Peterborough United has only five seasons in what is now known as the Championship, and their best performance was a 10th place finish in their inaugural season back in 1992-1993. Otherwise, they haven’t been that good, with an average finish in the other four season of 22nd, but would welcome the opportunity to receive Championship-level funding again. Sunderland, on the other hand, has a long history above Tier 3, having only spent one previous season (a championship in 1987-1988) prior to this one in Tier 3.
As for Doncaster Rovers and Accrington Stanley, goal differential also finds them behind Fleetwood Town despite identical 2-2-1 records at this early point in the season. Doncaster Rovers face a tough test against Peterborough United on the road this weekend, but hope to get at least a point to keep pace with the others. Accrington Stanley has never competed above Tier 3, and this early season’s run after gaining promotion from League 2 has been quite impressive.
On the other end of things, the bottom four teams face relegation to League One. Last year, Oldham Athletic, Northampton Town, Milton Keynes Dons, and Bury were the odd clubs out, and only MK Dons are currently in position to compete for promotion from League Two at this moment.
The bottom of the League One table currently looks like this:
Three teams are currently tied with 1-0-4 records, and only goal differential is keeping Bristol Rovers out of the red zone. Burton Albion, relegated from the Championship after last season, can’t feel good about their current place in the league, and hope to turn things around starting this weekend with a home match versus mid-table club AFC Wimbledon.
Burton Albion had a meteoric rise to the Championship after a second place League One finish back in 2015-2016, but found little success in their two seasons at Tier 2. After being relegated after last season, however, they would probably hope to avoid another relegation so quickly, even if they would probably fare better in the lower division.
Shrewsbury Town can improve – or hurt – another team at the bottom with a home match of their own against Bristol Rovers, who I’m sure will be looking to come away with the win and avoid showing up on the list next time. They qualified for the league playoffs last season, barely missing out on promotion, so falling all the way to relegation should be unacceptable.
Until next time…
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