6th Wigan Athletic (3rd)
Ins – Jack Whatmough, Gwion Edwards, Tom Naylor, Jordan Cousins, Max Power, Ben Amos, Charlie Wyke, Stephen Humphrys, Jordan Jones
Out – Lee Evans, Chris Merrie, Kyle Joseph, Owen Evans, Jamie Proctor, Sean McGurk, Zach Clough, Dan Gardner, Alex Perry, Corey Whelan
Wigan have spent big, and there are plenty of League One players in there with proven records. Jack Whatmough is a name we all remember for his reckless challenge away at Pompey, whilst Charlie Wyke’s wages have overshadowed what is a very good capture. I saw the question asked about service to the former Sunderland man, and in Jordan Jones, I think Wigan have provided an answer. I don’t like their methods, less than 18 months ago 75 staff were made redundant, but I guess the club came out of admin, found new owners and have quickly shrugged that period off. I think they’re in good shape.
5th Portsmouth (7th)
Ins – Liam Vincent, Clark Robertson, Shaun Williams, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Gavin Bazuna, Keiron Freeman, Gassan Ahadme, Jayden Reid, Connor Ogilvie, George Hirst
Out – Jack Whatmough, Ben Close, Ryan Williams, Tom Naylor, James Bolton, Craig MacGillivray, Andy Cannon, Charlie Daniels, Jordy Hiwula, Bryn Morris, Taylor Seymour, Duncan Turnbull
Yeah, I know, ‘booo’ and all that, right? Sorry, but you and I know Danny and Nicky Cowley are decent managers, and they’ve assembled a good squad at Pompey. They’ll have a decent budget, the sort that makes Steve Evans cry into his pillow at night, but they’re recruiting well, and Fratton Park will be right behind them, which Kenny Jackett never had. Ahadme, Ogilvie and Hirst are all great for this level, whilst Marquis, Curtis and Harness are super players on their day. It’s another top-six push for them, one I think they’ll make. If I had to put a quid on a winner in the top six, it would be Portsmouth too, because, in one-off games, we know their management thrives.
4th Rotherham United (4th)
Ins – Joshua Chapman, Shane Ferguson, Hakeem Odoffin, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Ollie Rathbone
Out – Clark Robertson, Matt Crooks, Billy Jones, Shaun MacDonald, Jamie Proctor, Clark Robertson, Kyle Vassell
The ultimate yo-yo club are looking for a bounce after their latest fall. You only have to look at the ins and outs to realise they’re in good shape, with Championship quality players to mount a promotion challenge. I thought they were a decent side, not a great one, two years ago, and I expect the same this season. You know what you’re getting with Paul Warne’s Rotherham by now, and as I said on the podcast the day will come when being the yo-yo team is not enough for the club. until then, they’ll always be around it when they pay League One a visit.
3rd Sunderland (2nd)
Ins – Alex Pritchard, Jacob Carney, Corey Evans, Callum Doyle
Out – George Dobson, Charlie Wyke, Callum McFadzean, Chris Maguire, Conor McLaughlin, Grant Leadbitter, Josh Scowen, Max Power, Remi Matthews
As I said on the podcast, I have based this on who they’ll sign, not who they have signed. Sunderland are undergoing a big change at present and i think their business will be later than most. They’ve lost a lot of players and as yet, not replaced them well enough in my eyes. Why third then? Because they’re always there, eventually. They’ll make some big signings before the window shuts, then in January, they’ll have the means to do the same again. My only question mark is over Lee Johnson, I’m not convinced he’s the right man for the Sunderland job, but even if he isn’t he should have a squad, and the financial clout, to put them in the top six.