With the 2021/22 campaign underway in just under five weeks, in a six-part feature we are taking a closer look at each of the 23 teams that Wanderers will come up against during the coming season.
Amongst the early favourites for promotion, the Addicks will be looking to pick themselves up after missing out on the play-offs on goal difference to Oxford United – managed by their former boss Karl Robinson.
Relegated from the Sky Bet Championship initially in 2016, Charlton eventually made their return to the second tier in 2019 with a dramatic play-off final victory against Sunderland. Lasting just a year in the Sky Bet Championship, the Addicks returned to Sky Bet League One and despite missing out last season, they will be aiming for promotion this time around.
Going through a bit of a squad re-build, Athletic lost last season’s main man Chuks Aneke to Lee Bowyer’s Birmingham City but recruitment so far has gone pretty well – bringing in the likes of Jayden Stockley, George Dobson, and Craig MacGillivray.
Last Season’s finish: 7th in Sky Bet League One
Key Player: Jayden Stockley
Promotion Odds: 4/1
Last Meeting: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Charlton Athletic [28th January 2017 – League One]
Joining Wanderers, Cambridge United and Morecambe in League One next term as the newly promoted quartet, Cheltenham won the title last term and return to the third tier for the first time since 2008/09.
Guided by Michael Duff, Town will aim to keep hold of the core of a squad who have been successful under the club’s former central defensive mainstay. A minimum objective for the Robins would be survival, but with momentum behind them, they could well have their sights on finishing further up the table that many would expect them to.
Last Season’s finish: 1st in Sky Bet League Two
Key Player: Will Boyle
Promotion Odds: 16/1
Last Meeting: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Cheltenham Town [16th January 2021 – League Two]
Possessing an undoubted ability to bring young players through the ranks capable of succeeding in the first team and playing at a higher level, Alex have already seen Harry Pickering, Perry Ng, and Ryan Wintle move onto the Sky Bet Championship in recent times and keeping hold of Owen Dale and Charlie Kirk could be important to next season’s ambitions.
Finishing mid-table during their first season back in the third tier, the club has progressed a great deal under the management of David Artell and could well be a good outside bet for a push at the top six this time around.
Last Season’s finish: 12th in Sky Bet League One
Key Player: Owen Dale
Promotion Odds: 10/1
Last Meeting: Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Crewe Alexandra [7th November 2020 – FA Cup]
A slump in form during the second half of the season cost Rovers a shot at promotion to the Sky Bet Championship, but this summer has offered the club a chance to press the refresh button with the appointment of Richie Wellens – a man who enjoyed success playing in the heart of the Doncaster midfield.
Talisman James Coppinger retired at the end of last season and star man Ben Whiteman signed for Preston North End in January, so there are void for Wellens to fill in the squad. Rovers will also come up against former boss Darren Moore who is now in charge at South Yorkshire rivals, Sheffield Wednesday.
Last Season’s finish: 14nd in Sky Bet League One
Key Player: Ben Close
Promotion Odds: 8/1
Last Meeting: Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Bolton Wanderers [11th February 2020 – League One]