Sky Bet League One: relegation, top scorer, special bets and free tips
Half-Time Team Talk | Show some faith in Colby Bishop
Doncaster Rovers bottom-half finish
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Colby Bishop top scorer
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League One analysis
Sunderland have to rate as the biggest disappointment of the Sky Bet League One season, though Doncaster aren’t far behind.
Like the Black Cats, Donny were in the playoffs last season and were expected to go well again, yet Darren Moore’s men begin the Christmas period in 14th place.
Like Sunderland, they look beyond a quick fix. The Keepmoat’s glass-half-full brigade will tell you that if they win their games in hand Rovers can go into the playoff places. However, current form suggests they are more likely to lose those outstanding fixtures and a place in the bottom half seems far more likely than a berth in the top six.
The bottom line is that when they sold striker John Marquis to Portsmouth in the summer, he wasn’t replaced. It’s not quite as simple as that (the exits of loan stars Mallik Wilks and Herbie Kane were just as keenly felt), but Marquis bagged 22 goals in 2018-19 and six-goal Kieran Sadlier looks like the only player on their books who is going to threaten double figures.
They have won only one of their last nine games in all competitions, have kept just one clean sheet in nine in the league and it could get worse before it gets better with a festive schedule which takes in showdowns with Peterborough, Sunderland and Oxford.
They can’t get Matty Blair fit, Donervon Daniels has become a liability in defence and there’s a prospect that ace midfielder Ben Whiteman could be on his way in January, and they can't really be expected to squeeze much more out of James Coppinger, who turns 39 next month.
Anyone going back into the top-scorer market will have to weigh up how realistic the transfer speculation is.
Two of our pre-season selections, Peterborough’s Ivan Toney and Jonson Clarke-Harris at Bristol Rovers, are being looked at, while Marcus Maddison is forever being touted as someone a Championship side should target.
Marcus Forss, on ten goals from 13 starts and just four behind Toney, looks a gem and while he is on loan at Wimbledon from Brentford for the season, the likes of West Ham and Southampton are sniffing around and prepared to write cheques which the Griffin Park hierarchy might struggle to ignore.
The really interesting proposition among the frontrunners – and still a big price – is Accrington’s Colby Bishop, scorer of ten in 19 games including three penalties.
Signed by Stanley after a great season in the National League North with Leamington, the 23-year-old got off to a flyer with goals in three of his first four matches and he hasn’t stopped.
He has bagged braces against Ipswich, Bolton and Portsmouth in the last two months and with no threat to his place in John Coleman’s plans, he should be able to carry on finding the net.
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