1. Doncaster Rovers
Doncaster Rovers made an immediate return to the third tier, having won the league in the 2012/2013 season. Their fate was sealed in the cruellest of fashions, when a last minute Birmingham City goal from Paul Caddis secured a point for the Blues, whilst condemning Rovers to the drop. Unfortunately, relegation has not been the only concern for the Yorkshire club. With One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson and former chairman of the club John Ryan announcing they were set to takeover the club, a statement was then made on Thursday 17th July stating that the deal had in fact fallen through. BBC Sport has reported that Ryan spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield stating that “The situation is that the crowd-funder didn”t succeed and we are very sorry about that but the real problem is with the Football League.They have made it so difficult now that unless you have a bag full of cash you are going to get turned down.”
This collapse of a deal so close to the start of the season is not good news for Donny fans. Having not made a single summer signing, yet losing striker Chris Brown to Blackburn Rovers and wingers Mark Duffy and David Cotterill to Championship survivors Birmingham City, expect a turbulent season with fans being left frustrated at what could have been. Paul Dickov will expect an immediate return to the second tier as they did two years ago, but it will be a huge ask with the likes of Bristol City, Peterborough United, Sheffield United and Barnsley all having extremely strong squads for the new season, as well as the couple of smaller teams that always take us by surprise.
After a very poor season in which they kept the least clean sheets in the whole of the Championship, Barnsley were relegated with a game to go and will play in League One this season. It will be the first time they play at this level since the 2005/2006 season, where they went on to win the play-offs and secure promotion. Whether they can repeat this feat will very much depend on them adapting to the level of football. Danny Wilson has much experience at this level having guided Swindon Town and Sheffield United to the League One play-off final.
With a staggering 14 players having been released at the end of the season, cutting costs seems to be much needed for a club who spent 8 seasons in the Championship. As well as this Tomas Cywka, Stephen Dawson, Jacob Mellis and Jim O”Brien all turned down the chance to stay on with Barnsley. To top this off the Tykes have sold last seasons top scorer Chris O”Grady to Brighton and are also open to offers for their captain Martin Cranie as well as defender Tom Kennedy. This highlights the difference in the two divisions in terms of budget. However, there have been new faces gracing Oakwell, including Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Adam Davies, former Plymouth midfielder Conor Hourihane and striker Kane Hemmings. They are also launching a bid for Scunthorpe striker Sam Winnall. A club this big with an experienced manager should no doubt be among one of the favourites to take the division by storm, however, Leeds, Sheffield Utd, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest are living proof that 46 games at this level is a prospect that is never easy. Expect the team to take time to settle in the division and to deal with some major shocks along the way.
3. Yeovil Town
Probably should be described as the “not so newcomers.” Before achieving promotion in 2013 Yeovil Town had spent eight seasons in League One, spending much of that time trying to avoid relegation to League Two. The return of Gary Johnson, the man who masterminded their entry in to the Football League after a 108 year wait, proved to be a stroke of pure genius. In his first full season back in charge, Yeovil won the League One play-offs securing the first season in the Championship in their history. However, it seemed one step too far for the Glovers as they endured a tough season in which they lost a remarkable 31 points from winning positions. A lack of experience and a budget that would not match a lot of League Two teams meant the somewhat inevitable immediate return to the third tier became a reality at the end of last season.
A large turn over of players has occured at Huish Park with star players Marek Stech, Byron Webster and Luke Ayling all rejecting new deals. Eight new players have joined Yeovil including former Crewe striker AJ Leitch Smith, midfielder James Berrett and back for his second spell at the club, left back Nathan Smith. As well as this, four players remain from the promotion winning side. Expect midfielders Joe Edwards, Sam Foley and Kevin Dawson to be keen to make an impression. Veteran striker James Hayter will also want to show he is still prolific at this level. Expect a season of stability, but with a manager who knows the league well, they could well surprise everyone once again.