The 2020/21 League One season has consisted of many controversial twists and turns, and many more could still take place.
All three promotion places are still up for grabs and many teams are looking to survive the drop down to League Two.
Burton Albion were a side that looked destined for relegation as they ended 2020 at the bottom of the table. Albion were six points from safety but teams above them had games in hand.
Jake Buxton was eventually sacked after a disappointing 4-3 loss to relegation rivals, Wigan. The loss was their fourth in succession, and it proved to be final straw for Buxton.
The brewers opted for the reappointment Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, five years after he last took charge of the League One club.
Hasselbaink lost two of his first three games in charge, but after 12 incomings and eight departures in January, Burton have turned their form around in dramatic fashion.
The Brewers are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run and they now sit in 18th place – eight points from the relegation places.
The Brewers impressive seven game unbeaten run includes an impressive 2-1 win at home to promotion candidates Peterborough United.
Posh have been knocking on the door of the Championship for several years now, and it could finally be the season where they reach their prolonged destination.
Despite losing two of their last three games, Peterborough are still second in the league.
United have adapted to the departure of Ivan Toney better than people would have thought. It seems like Posh have a coping mechanism after they lose a top marksman.
In 2018, Peterborough sold the 2017/18 League One top scorer, Jack Marriott to Derby for an undisclosed fee.
Ivan Toney was brought in as Marriott’s replacement. The ex-Newcastle striker proved to be influential for Peterborough as he scored 40 goals in 76 appearance’s before Brentford signed him during the summer of 2020.
Jonson Clarke-Harris was signed as Toney’s replacement and is now the current prolific goal scorer at Peterborough United, as he’s racked up 21 goals in 31 League One games.
His goals have helped Peterborough to maintain their promotion charge, as they currently sit four points above the playoff places.
Many teams are still in contention to make the playoff places as we reach the business end of the season.
The four playoff places are currently taken up by Lincoln City, Sunderland, Doncaster Rovers and Charlton Athletic.
Lincoln City had a short stint at the top of League One at the start of 2021, as they were seven points clear of third place.
Since then, the Imps have failed to find consistency and suffered a shock home defeat to relegation strugglers Rochdale.
High flying Hull City and Peterborough have capitalised on this as Lincoln dropped down to third place.
The Imps gained promotion from The National League in 2017, and Championship football would be a huge feat for the club as it would be their first time in the English second division since 1961.
Hull City are currently the League One leaders after a five-game win streak has put the Tigers in good stead for an immediate return to the Championship.
Despite having played more games than everyone in the league, Hull are seven points clear of the playoff places.
22-year-old Mallik Wilks has helped to propel the Tigers to the top of the league by scoring seven goals in his last five games.
Wilks currently has 17 goals in League One this season and the ex-Leeds forward is currently one of the most exciting prospects in the league, alongside on-loan Doncaster man, Taylor Richards.
On loan from Brighton, Richards has delivered plenty of outstanding performances for Doncaster, and he’s one of the reasons why Rovers are in the playoffs.
However, Doncaster have had to cope with the recent departure of manager Darren Moore as he left to join Championship side, Sheffield Wednesday.
Rovers have only won two out of their last five games they’ve played since Moore left, which shows that it’ll be tough for any manager to replace Darren Moore.
Another club looking to get back into the Championship are, Sunderland.
The Black Cats are currently fourth in League One – five points from second place Peterborough.
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Sunderland this season however, as Phil Parkinson was sacked at the start of December after a series of lacklustre performances.
The introduction of new manager, Lee Johnson and a takeover deal, which made Kyril Louis-Dreyfus the youngest CEO in the Football League, has turned the club around.
The continuous goals from their number nine, Charlie Wyke have transformed them into one of the favourites to win promotion to the Championship.
Ex-Premier League club, Wigan Athletic find themselves in 20th place – just above the relegation zone.
Last season, Wigan entered administration and were deducted 12 points – which led to their relegation to League One.
In September, they were allowed to start the season despite the Latics still currently being in administration.
The club lost their biggest assets due to their relegation and were given limited resources to build on their squad for the season ahead.
Therefore, Wigan have been relegation threatened all season, and a number of takeover bids have fallen through.
Things are finally starting to look up for the club as it has been recently announced that Al-Hammad is to become the club’s new chairman in March this year. Also, Wigan are currently just outside the relegation places – which has been a rarity this season.
Portsmouth are yet another League One club to have suffered a plummet from the Premier League.
Pompey are currently 10th in the league but are just three points from the playoffs.
The 2008 FA Cup winners have reached the League One playoffs for the past two seasons, as they failed to get past the semi-final stage on both occasions – losing to Sunderland and Oxford respectively.
The recent sacking of Kenny Jackett, after a four-year tenure with the club, makes the next managerial appointment very important as Portsmouth hope to gain promotion back to the Championship after nine long years.
Promotion from this division can be the catalyst for a club to reach the Premier League.
Wolves and Sheffield United are recent examples of this, as they’ve both been crowned champions of League One over the past decade and then went on to achieve top half finishes in the Premier League.
Who will be next?
Adam Sopf @sopfadam