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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Stuart Gray on League One
Northampton boss Stuart Gray
By Stuart Gray
Northampton manager

League One looks a bit stronger this season than it was last time around.

The teams that came down from the Championship, coupled with the teams that came up from League Two and those that didn't get out last season, mean it is going to be difficult.

It will be a tough season and harder to get into the play-offs and get out.

The teams that have come down have a bit more of an advantage as they tend to carry bigger squads, whereas the teams in my league have to work with a tight budget.

Northampton boss Stuart Gray
Gray hopes Northampton can emerge from the pack

The relegated teams have more choice. My own experience is that we are carrying a thin squad and you need to bring in one or two loan players.

That means you are relying on being as fit as possible but then injuries and suspensions start to bite and that is when you go out and look to bring in a loan player.

The other thing is that most of the time we play on Saturdays and in midweek, what with the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and if you have a bit of success in the League Cup, plus there are League games to fit in as well.

People say about there being only four teams able to compete for the Premier League, and in the Championship any of 12 teams could go up.

But in this division, you have three leagues - based on wage bills, budgets and attendances.

Of the teams that came down, I'm not sure about Leeds' financial situation, Southend have been in this division before and are carrying Championship players.

For promotion, I don't think you can look too far from Forest

If somebody told me three years ago that we would be playing against Leeds and Nottingham Forest in this division, I would not have believed them.

It is going to be tough for Leeds. I know my team will certainly get a lift going to play at Elland Road, purely because of the history surrounding the place and the size of the stadium.

I think other teams will get a lift as well and Leeds might find it hard to win home games.

But they still have quality players and if they get off to a good start, you couldn't rule them out.

My old club, Nottingham Forest, came so close to getting out of the division last year when they were 2-0 up after the first-leg of their play-off semi-final against Yeovil.

BBC Sport's Mark Mitchener
Scunthorpe did a fantastic job last season to get up on their limited resources.

They did it by having two solid banks of four and two strikers who scored bags of goals. People look at what they did and say 'if they can do it, so can we'.

Blackpool also had a good run towards the end of the season and showed how a team can suddenly emerge from the pack.

Hartlepool, Walsall, Swindon and Bristol Rovers have come up and they are all good teams, with impressive managers.

If you are looking for a team to do a Blackpool and emerge from the pack, there might be a surprise package among them.

For promotion, I don't think you can look too far from Forest. Colin Calderwood still has his quality players.

I also think Doncaster will be there or thereabouts. What manager Sean O'Driscoll has done is bring in good players and he has acquired strength in depth.

  • Stuart Gray was talking to John May

  • Coca-Cola Football League One Table
    30 January 2010 17:06
        P GD PTS
    1 Norwich 29 34 63
    2 Leeds 27 29 60

    3 Charlton 28 20 55
    4 Colchester 27 13 49
    5 Swindon 26 8 48
    6 Millwall 28 11 46

    7 Huddersfield 26 20 45
    8 MK Dons 28 4 43
    9 Bristol Rovers 26 -3 38
    10 Brentford 27 -3 34
    11 Southampton 27 15 33
    12 Carlisle 26 -3 33
    13 Walsall 25 1 32
    14 Yeovil 28 -5 31
    15 Southend 28 -7 31
    16 Hartlepool 29 -10 31
    17 Leyton Orient 27 -10 31
    18 Exeter 29 -11 30
    19 Gillingham 28 -7 29
    20 Brighton 27 -13 28

    21 Oldham 25 -10 26
    22 Tranmere 27 -22 26
    23 Wycombe 29 -22 23
    24 Stockport 27 -29 16

    League One form guide
    06 Aug 07 |  League One
    How to watch football this season
    02 Aug 07 |  Football


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