Morecambe boss: League One will be tougher this time around

Derek Adams thinks more than half the clubs in League One will hope to be in the promotion battle when the 2022/23 season kicks off on Saturday.

Morecambe are preparing for their second year in the third tier, having defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish 19th last time around.

It was a highly competitive division with Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United and Sunderland eventually gaining promotion.

Another two former Premier League clubs, Derby County and Barnsley, have dropped down along with proven League One promotion winners in Peterborough United.

Morecambe's pre-season ended with a goalless draw against Carlisle United last weekend Picture: Michael Williamson

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Morecambe complete pre-season with Carlisle United draw

MK Dons, Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers lost in the play-offs, while Plymouth Argyle, Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Portsmouth and Oxford United will all be eyeing a top-six spot.

Add the promoted quartet of Forest Green Rovers, Exeter City, Bristol Rovers and Port Vale, and it’s little wonder Adams expects a hard-fought season.

“You only have to look at the teams who have come down from the Championship and the teams who have come up from League Two,” he said.

“They are all very good sides, very good footballing sides as well.

“I think there are going to be two divisions within the division again this season.

“I think we will possibly see 14 teams who maybe think they should enter that top six and the rest fighting to stay up.

“The ones that want to get out of the league have got stronger, which is an interesting aspect as well.”

Morecambe finished two points clear of the bottom four last season with 42 points as Fleetwood Town survived ahead of Gillingham on goal difference, having only claimed 40.

That was the lowest tally to avoid relegation in a fully completed third tier season since three points for a win were introduced in 1981.

Adams believes a similar haul won’t be enough for survival this season, adding: “The league is stronger this year.

“You always find a few teams get cut adrift and there are other teams who surprise the rest.

“Last year, all the promoted teams stayed in the division, so that tells you how good teams coming up from League Two are.”