With the 2021/22 campaign underway in just over six 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.
Preparing for a first full season back at Plough Lane, AFC Wimbledon finally make the move away from Kingsmeadow – the ground which has been their home since a short while after their formation in 2002.
The Dons will embark on a sixth successive season in League One this term and since their promotion from League Two in 2016, they haven’t finished any higher than 15th in the third tier. Although Mark Robinson’s task will primarily be to keep the Londoners in the division, he will be hoping to be buoyed by Plough Lane with the supporters fully behind the team.
The Dons however have lost the service of last season’s 22-goal top scorer Joe Pigott and will need someone to fill that void.
Last Season’s finish: 19th in Sky Bet League One
Key Player: Jack Rudoni
Promotion Odds: 16/1
Last Meeting: AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Bolton Wanderers [7th March 2020 – League One]
The minnows from East Lancashire continue to defy the odds under the management of John Coleman and have kicked on and shown progression since their unlikely promotion to League One in 2018 after storming to the League Two title.
Looking in good shape for a play-off push for the majority of the 2020/21 campaign, a miserable month of March would ultimately cost them that opportunity and it was a month that included a 7-0 defeat at Peterborough United.
The likes of Joe Pritchard, Dion Charles and Colby Bishop all caught the eye for Stanley last term and the club will probably be doing all they can to keep their star players, although they could well to succumb to the financial superiority of clubs further up the ladder.
Last Season’s finish: 11th in Sky Bet League One
Key Player: Dion Charles
Promotion Odds: 14/1
Last Meeting: Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Accrington Stanley [29th February 2020 – League One]
No side endured more of a rollercoaster of a campaign than Burton Albion last term, with the Brewers coming back from the dead to confirm their League One status for another season with an incredible run of form.
By January, Albion had won just two league matches but following a win at Gillingham in the first month of the year they would go onto win eleven of their next seventeen matches. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink returned to the Pirelli Stadium on New Year’s Day to replace Jake Buxton in the dugout and the Dutchman inspired his team to a strong finish to the 2020/21 season. Recruitment has been eye-catching so far this summer and the bookies rate Burton as outsiders for a push at the top six.
Last Season’s finish: 16th in Sky Bet League One
Key Player: Kane Hemmings
Promotion Odds: 9/1
Last Meeting: Burton Albion 2-2 Bolton Wanderers [10th March 2020 – League One]
Nobody predicted Cambridge United as promotion contenders last term, but Mark Bonner’s men went about their business with real consistency and attacking menace and ultimately got themselves over the line for a first appearance in the third tier since 2002.
It is a fantastic achievement for a club that spent close to a decade in non-league before promotion to League Two in 2014. Main man Wes Hoolahan will turn 40 shortly after the end of the 2021/22 season and keeping him fit and in form will be key to any success this term.
Keeping their best players will prove to be a difficult task this summer and with Kyle Knoyle moving onto Doncaster Rovers, United may well struggle to keep hold of Paul Mullin. The Liverpudlian forward scored an astonishing 34 goals in 2020/21 and will no doubt be attracting attention from clubs further up the ladder.
Last Season’s finish: 2nd in Sky Bet League Two [Promoted]
Key Player: Wes Hoolahan
Promotion Odds: 14/1
Last Meeting: Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Cambridge United [9th March 2021 – League Two]