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3 League One teams off to a surprise start this season

Monday 22nd October 2018
It looks set to be another competitive campaign in England's third tier
It looks set to be another competitive campaign in England's third tier

League One has not disappointed so far this season. The promotion and relegation battles are already both in full swing. Title favourites Sunderland, Peterborough United and Barnsley all currently sit in the top six. Each has sights on the Championship. At the other end, teams such as Plymouth Argyle and Oxford United are set for hard times slogging it out.   

Besides the expected frontrunners and strugglers, there are teams causing a surprise. None more so than these three.   

Portsmouth

Having suffered eight years of hurt following relegation from the Premier League, few could begrudge Portsmouth a brighter future. During that troubled spell, Pompey dropped down the leagues rapidly, into the fourth tier, and almost closed business.  

Portsmouth's renaissance began by winning the League Two title in 2016/17 under their former manager Paul Cook. Ex-Millwall and Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Kenny Jackett then guided them to eighth in League One, finishing only five points off the play-off places.  

Not many expected Pompey to top the table at this stage. They have lost just once in 14 games. Making some shrewd signings in the summer, such as Irish winger Ronan Curtis from Derry City and Burton Albion's Tom Naylor, both of who have slotted in nicely, has played a key part. As stories go, it would be great if the south-coast outfit can maintain form and make a Championship return.  

Can they keep it up?

Portsmouth have no doubt been the division's strongest side up to now. They are deservedly the six-point leaders. Jackett has got his men well organised at the back. They have goals in them, too, with the experienced Brett Pitman up front. All in all, Pompey will take some stopping. 

Accrington Stanley

The Lancashire minnows achieved a fairytale promotion to the third tier last season after winning the League Two title against all odds. Over the years, manager John Coleman has worked wonders at Accrington on a tiny budget. Many believed this campaign would be one step too far, but they are proving people wrong once again. 

Currently sitting fourth in the table, Stanley are capable of giving any opposition a challenge. They have lost only twice since August, picking up an impressive 26 points from a possible 42.  

Although Accrington have the smallest ground in the Football League, they are determined to do more than just make up the numbers. Coleman's charges always demonstrate both great spirit and work ethic. 

Can they keep it up?

Why not? Accrington's passion and commitment are evident. Sometimes that's all which is needed. Deploying 11 players who each know their job can take teams a long way. 

Doncaster Rovers

Grant McCann was the surprise choice to replace Darren Ferguson as Doncaster boss in the summer. After being shown the Peterborough exit in February due to bad results, the Northern Irishman is grabbing his chance at the Keepmoat with both hands. The South Yorkshire side may have struck gold by appointing the 38-year-old.  

Donny sit sixth in League One, only two points off the automatic promotion spots. Their start has caused some shock considering last season's 15th-place finish.   

Doncaster have a good blend of youth, in players such as Ben Whiteman, Jermaine Anderson and Mallik Wilks, mixed with the experience provided by Andy Butler, Tommy Rowe and the evergreen James Coppinger.

Can they keep it up?

McCann seems to know what he is doing. Doncaster have started solidly and must now push on. However, sustaining injuries to key players could derail them as squad depth will be left wanting. A few January signings would set Donny up nicely for a play-off charge.  

League One Table
Harry Mail

A big Hull City fan from Manchester. Keep an eye on leagues across Europe, the MLS and non-league in England.


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