NIGEL Clough believes that League One will be very competitive next season after the fixtures were released today.
The Brewers manager sees a testing start and end to the season for Albion. We face two of the sides coming down from the Championship in the first three league games plus an away trip to Oxford United who finished last season strongly.
The last three games are against three of the heavyweights of the division – Sunderland, Coventry and Portsmouth.
Clough said: “They are all difficult, but you do notice the first four and the last three. If come April there is still something to play for the last three are as difficult as you will get.
“It’s unusual to be home in the first game and last game of the season but we don’t mind that.”
The Brewers will also play in the Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy in the first month of the season.
Clough said: “There aren’t many midweek league games early on so to put Carabao Cup games in early makes sense as the squads should be fit and healthy at that point.”
Newly-promoted to the division are MK Dons, Lincoln, Bury and Tranmere.
Clough said: “Lincoln will be the strongest of the promoted teams without a doubt and will be looking to challenge straight away. I think when you look through the league more than half the teams will fancy their chances of the top six.
“Bolton will start with a points deduction which will make it difficult but still doable to reach the play offs but certainly Ipswich, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Peterborough, Doncaster, Coventry, Oxford and all these sorts of teams will expect to be up there.
“I think Shrewsbury as well with all their signings might be having a go.
“The way Oxford finished last season means they will be strong and the bigger clubs like Bristol Rovers, if it clicks for them, there is certainly a possibility and Blackpool have new owners and will be an interesting prospect as well.
“There are some big clubs in League One who were in the Premier League not so long ago. It will be competitive certainly and it looks a tough one when you look at it on paper.
“The fixtures give you something to work towards. That August 3, 3pm target. When you have a team there that’s what you are building towards.
“Compared to 12 month ago, after relegation, we go into the new season in a lot better mental state and we are looking forward to it.”
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