Which League One rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley need to be most wary of in 2022-23 and why

A BASKET case of a club and a sorry mess behind the scenes they may have been in 2021-22, but when it comes to analysing League One’s main promotion contenders, Derby County’s name is at the top of the list.

Lifelong fan David Clowes is now in charge and senior operators recruited in the likes of David McGoldrick, James Chester, Tom Barkhuisen, Conor Hourihane and James Collins give their promotion pitch an immediate element of seriousness and respect.

Whether Derby, in their first season at this level since 1985-86, return to the Championship will probably have as much to do with the impact of two talented young midfielders in Jason Knight and Max Bird – and whether they keep them.

Another relegated side in Peterborough will also be conscious of keeping the family silver, with teenage defender Ronnie Edwards being courted by Manchester City.

Will Liam Rosenior be able to lead Derby County back to the Championship from League One at the first attempt. Picture: Nigel French/PA

Sammie Szmodics, Harrison Burrows and Jack Taylor have also been linked with moves to higher-division clubs.

Further forward, Posh have a natural scorer at this level in ex-Rotherham player Jonson Clarke-Harris. If he fires and key players are retained, they should have a strong season led by a successful manager at this level in ex-Hull and Doncaster boss Grant McCann.

After the sale of Harry Darling and Scott Twine, MK Dons will do well to emulate their play-off feats of 21-22.

At the other end of Buckinghamshire, Wycombe’s hopes will probably depend on getting another good year from elder statesmen Sam Vokes and Garath McCleary.

Peterborough United manager Grant McCann will be looking to pin another promotion on his cv at the end of 2022-23. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Ipswich, who have signed ex-Leeds defender Leif Davis for a significant fee for a League One club and former Millers forward Freddie Ladapo, should be firmly in the picture. The signing of Marcus Harness, for around £600,000, is a further indicator of their ambition.