Morecambe boss anticipates an even stronger League One next season

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Derek Adams believes Morecambe will encounter an even stronger League One when the 2022/23 season kicks off.

The Shrimps defied pre-season predictions by finishing 19th, two points clear of the drop zone in their first season at that level.

Of all the top four divisions last season, it was League One which stood out in terms of how competitive it appeared on paper.

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There were seven former Premier League teams: eight if Wimbledon’s transformation into MK Dons is included.

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Another 11 had featured in the second tier at one point in their history, seven of those having done so since the turn of the century.

Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United and Sunderland have all gained promotion back to the Championship for 2022/23.

Dropping down are two former Premier League teams in Derby County and Barnsley, as well as a Peterborough United side which has had three promotions in the last 14 seasons.

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Forest Green Rovers, Exeter City and Bristol Rovers all gained automatic promotion from League Two with Mansfield Town and Port Vale meeting in the play-off final on Saturday.

“I don’t think it’s going to get any easier next season,” Adams acknowledged.

“You only have to look at Bristol Rovers coming up, Exeter City coming up and Forest Green: they are all clubs that have greater financial reserves than ourselves.

“Then you’ve got the likes of Derby County, Barnsley and Peterborough coming down, so I think it will be an even tougher division than it was this season.”

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The new season will begin on the weekend of July 30 but, unlike last year when Morecambe went to Worcester Warriors for a pre-season training camp, they will be closer to home.

Four pre-season games have been confirmed so far with the Shrimps visiting Stalybridge Celtic (July 5), Macclesfield (July 9) and Chester July 16 before hosting Carlisle United (July 23).

Adams said: “We’ll be back in on June 23 to start preparing for the new season.

“We’re going to stay at Morecambe this pre-season, train there and play (pre-season) games against English opposition.

“I’m looking to take a squad of roughly 23 players for the new season but the (transfer) market will be difficult.”