Ipswich Town are second favourites for promotion from League One next season – but who are bookies tipping to challenge them?
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town are second favourites for promotion from League One in their return to the third tier next season. Mark Heath looks at the current odds, and the other sides who are expected to push the Blues next campaign.
Paul Lambert's Blues will be playing in the third tier for the first time since 1957, having finished rock bottom of the Championship table last season, winning just five games.
But the Blues are being backed to go straight back up by the boookies, with odds ranging from 2/1 to 9/4 for promotion and 5/1 to 13/2 to win the title.
Here's who else the bookies are expecting to challenge for the top spots in League One next season.
Odds: 6/5 to 17/11 for promotion, 4/1 to 9/2 for title
Jack Ross's side lost out to Charlton in the play-off final at Wembley last season, but are the unanimous pick to win the league and go up next year.
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They finished in fifth spot last campaign, before seeing off fellow League One giants Portsmouth in the play-off semi-finals.
Josh Maja led them with 15 goals before joining Bordeaux in January, while Aiden McGeady chipped in with 12 and Chris Maguire added eight.
Blues looking to bounce back: Ipswich Town
Odds: 2/1 to 9/4 for promotion, 5/1 to 13/2 for title
Much has been said about last season's horror show for the Blues, which started with so much excitement under new boss Paul Hurst. He lasted just a couple of months - only collecting one win - before Lambert arrived and, though he had little impact on results, he certainly did much to restore the bond between touchline and terrace.
Bizarrely, there's a feelgood factor around the club despite relegation, and the Blues will certainly be one of the big boys in the third tier. They're set to sign prolific Tranmere striker James Norwood - the country's joint-leading marksman alongside Sergio Aguero last season with 32 goals - which will go a long way to resolving one of their biggest issues from 2018/19, the rank inability to put it in the net.
Pompey power: Portsmouth
Odds: 5/2 to 11/4 for promotion, 8/1 to 15/2 for title
The former FA Cup winners, another of League One's big boys, finished in fourth spot last season, before missing out on a berth in the play-off final by an odd goal across 180 minutes against Sunderland.
Boss Kenny Jackett is already talking up the club's chances next season, although he looks likely to lose two key players - leading scorer Jamal Lowe and defender Matt Clarke, formerly of Ipswich, are both expected to join Championship sides this summer.
Lowe netted 16 goals for Pompey last campaign, while Ronan Curtis and Brett Pitman (remember him?) bagged 11 each.
Millers making moves: Rotherham
Odds: 3/1 to 10/3 for promotion, 8/10 to 10/1 for title
Joined Town in slipping out of the Championship last term, although they put up much more of a fight, winning eight games and sitting nine points ahead of the Blues in the final table.
Paul Warne's men are already being talked about as serious contenders for next season, and have signed striker Carlton Morris (on a season long loan from Norwich) and midfielder Shaun Maconald from Wigan.
Semi Ajayi, Michael Smith and Will Vaulks all scored eight to lead the Millers last campaign.
Posh planning push: Peterborough United
Odds: 4/1 to 7/2 for promotion, 10/1 to 14/1 for title
The Posh just missed out on the play-offs in League One last season, finishing a point and a place behind Doncaster.
And they've set about their summer business with the fury of a club determined to be in the mix next campaign, paying an undisclosed record fee for striker Mo Eisa from Bristol City, signing defender Dan Butler from Newport, keeper Christy Pym from Exeter and adding defender Mark Beevers and midfielder Serhat Tasdemir from Bolton and Fylde respectively.
Ivan Toney led Posh with 20 goals in 2018/19, supported by Matt Godden's 16 and Marcus Maddison's eight, with 18 assists.
Cowley's Mighty Imps: Lincoln City
Odds: 4/1 to 6/1 for promotion, 14/1 to 20/1 for title
The surging Imps, bossed by Essex brothers Danny and Nicky Cowley, will be a side to watch next season.
Just three campaigns after they humbled Mick McCarthy's Town in the FA Cup as a National League side, the teams will be competing on equal footing in 2019/20.
They romped to the League Two title last year, with John Akinde leading the way with 17 goals, Bruno Andrade adding 11 and Shay McCartan bagging seven.