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Automatic Promotion Is The Aim

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Ipswich Town have been made favourites to win automatic promotion next season but now that Sunderland has left us, how easy will that be? We should never count our chickens in this league and next season will be our fourth attempt at escaping it. It is reassuring to know that we won’t have to face Wigan Atheltic or Rotherham United again. We lost home and away against the Millers, but ironically perhaps, we drew twice with the League One Champions, which suggests we are not far off the mark.

That is the good news, but the bad news makes me think that we will probably do well just to make the playoffs next time around. Into the mix come Derby County, Peterborough United and old adversaries Barnsley. It was George Burley’s birthday yesterday, and who could forget that victorious Wembley final that took us back to the Premier League under his excellent stewardship. Belated birthday wishes George!

The Rams performed remarkably well last term, given they had a massive points deduction and if Wayne Rooney stays and they can keep this squad together, they will be a real threat to everyone in this division. As things stand, Derby remains under a transfer embargo, with only five first-team players contracted beyond June 2022. Much can happen between now and August, so it is far too early to predict what will occur?

It will be interesting to see how Town fairs against relative newcomers Forest Green Rovers. Exeter City will mean a long trip for the travelling faithful, and Bristol Rovers are the other new incumbents in League One next season, so more challenges ahead! Now, I don’t want to sound too pessimistic and we all have different views. With that in mind, where do you think Town will finish next season? Top two? Playoffs? Same old?

Then we have the teams who almost made promotion. Sheffield Wednesday are a good side and of course, Wycombe Rovers got to Wembley, only to fall at the final hurdle to Sunderland. I fully expect Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Atheltic, Lincoln City, Plymouth Argyle, Portsmouth and Oxford United will all have promotion aspirations too, so whichever way you look at it, going up will be a huge challenge again! Manager Kieran McKenna knows only promotion will do next time, so good luck with that.

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