This weekend will see the beginning of the 2023/24 EFL League One season, with over 550 exciting matches in-store in what promises to be another jam-packed campaign full of high’s and low’s for each and every side. However, how do some of TheRealEFL’s writers think the scores will finish this weekend?
Taking part in the predictions for League One, League Two and the National League this week will be senior editor Callum (Coventry fan), writers Kelan (Peterborough fan), Ivan (Carlisle fan) and Jordan (Grimsby fan) as well as TheRealEFL founder Gary (Lincoln fan).
This Saturday will see all 12 matches begin at 3 pm, as fans across the nation are gripped to return to their seats or travel up/down the country, following the club they love as they hope to kick off the new season with a victory.
Beaten play-off finalists Barnsley will be hoping for a flying start in a new era, as they host Port Vale. Meanwhile, League Two champions Leyton Orient will make the short trip across the capital to a strong Charlton Athletic side and a Jerry Yates-less Blackpool will be praying for a winning start under the returning Neil Critchley when they host Burton Albion.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at our overview and predictions for the opening weekend of the League One season…
Barnsley FC Vs Port Vale
Kicking off the predictions, we have a clash between two sides who are both under new management, compared to last season. Barnsley lost Michael Duff to Swansea City, as well as several key players like Mads Anderson and Brad Collins, but are now under the management of Neill Collins. Meanwhile, Port Vale have confirmed the permanent appointment of Andy Crosby, following Darrell Clarke’s departure, setting up for an exciting afternoon at Oakwell.
- Callum: Barnsley FC 2-0 Port Vale
- Gary: Barnsley FC 2-1 Port Vale
- Kelan: Barnsley FC 2-1 Port Vale
- Ivan: Barnsley FC 2-0 Port Vale
- Jordan: Barnsley FC 2-0 Port Vale
Blackpool Vs Burton Albion
Neil Critchley will return to Bloomfield Road on Saturday with his Blackpool side aiming to make an instant return back to the Championship, following their relegation last season. They will host a Burton Albion side, who are full of new signings after a very busy transfer window. Former Morecambe striker Cole Stockton will be looking to hit the ground running against a Blackpool side who have lost their star man to Championship opposition.
- Callum: Blackpool FC 1-1 Burton Albion
- Gary: Blackpool FC 1-1 Burton Albion
- Kelan: Blackpool FC 2-0 Burton Albion
- Ivan: Blackpool FC 2-1 Burton Albion
- Jordan: Blackpool FC 1-1 Burton Albion
Bolton Wanderers Vs Lincoln City
In what could be one of the best matches of the weekend, Bolton Wanderers will be aiming to go one-better this season as they host a strong Lincoln City side, who will also be targeting the play-off places. Bolton have kept ahold of Ian Evatt, whilst adding the likes of Nathan Baxter and Carlos Mendes Gomes. Similarly, Mark Kennedy’s Lincoln City will be keen to start strong, after making several key signings including Sutton’s Alistair Smith and the return of former loan star Tyler Walker.
- Callum: Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Lincoln City
- Gary: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Lincoln City
- Kelan: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Lincoln City
- Ivan: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Lincoln City
- Jordan: Bolton Wanderers 3-1 Lincoln City
Cambridge United Vs Oxford United
Cambridge avoided relegation on the final day of the 2022/23 season and will be desperate to avoid a repeat during the upcoming campaign. However, the club have lost star men Harvey Knibbs and Sam Smith during the transfer window. Meanwhile, Oxford United have had a summer to remember, bringing in the likes of Jordan Thorniley and Mark Harris, as well as winning the hotly contested race to sign Notts County’s star man Ruben Rodrigues.
- Callum: Cambridge United 1-3 Oxford United
- Gary: Cambridge United 0-1 Oxford United
- Kelan: Cambridge United 0-1 Oxford United
- Ivan: Cambridge United 0-3 Oxford United
- Jordan: Cambridge United 0-1 Oxford United
Carlisle United Vs Fleetwood Town
Paul Simpson’s Carlisle will kick off their returning season in the third tier by hosting Scott Brown’s Fleetwood Town, in what should be an entertaining clash between the two sides. Carlisle have added fierce competition within the squad, including former Coventry striker Sean Maguire and the return of Stockport’s Ben Barclay. Elsewhere, Fleetwood have had a tough summer but has added the likes of Ryan Broom and Danny Mayor into their midfield.
- Callum: Carlisle United 1-1 Fleetwood Town
- Gary: Carlisle United 0-2 Fleetwood Town
- Kelan: Carlisle United 2-2 Fleetwood Town
- Ivan: Carlisle United 1-2 Fleetwood Town
- Jordan: Carlisle United 1-0 Fleetwood Town
Charlton Athletic Vs Leyton Orient
Within the capital, there will be a thrilling League One clash between Charlton Athletic and League Two champions Leyton Orient at the Valley. Dean Holden’s side have added a significant amount of quality in the window so far, including Cheltenham’s Alfie May and Ipswich Town’s Panutche Camara. As for Leyton Orient, they have secured the return of Idris El Mizouni as well as landing Ethan Galbraith and Joe Pigott, but have lost both Lawrence Vigouroux and Paul Smyth.
- Callum: Charlton Athletic 1-0 Leyton Orient
- Gary: Charlton Athletic 2-2 Leyton Orient
- Kelan: Charlton Athletic 2-1 Leyton Orient
- Ivan: Charlton Athletic 2-2 Leyton Orient
- Jordan: Charlton Athletic 2-1 Leyton Orient
Derby County Vs Wigan Athletic
Paul Warne’s Derby County will be looking to bounce back, after missing out on the top six last season as they play host to a Wigan Athletic side, who have began the campaign on minus points, following their off-field issues. The Rams have lost David McGoldrick, but have added the likes of Conor Washington and Sonny Bradley, further strengthening their side. Meanwhile, Wigan have lost the likes of Tom Naylor and Max Power, but have made nine new additions ahead of the new season.
- Callum: Derby County 3-0 Wigan Athletic
- Gary: Derby County 3-1 Wigan Athletic
- Kelan: Derby County 2-0 Wigan Athletic
- Ivan: Derby County 3-0 Wigan Athletic
- Jordan: Derby County 2-0 Wigan Athletic
Northampton Town Vs Stevenage FC
The two remaining League Two promoted sides’ will go head-to-head at Sixfields as both teams aim to get off to a winning start. Northampton have had a quiet start to the window, but have confirmed the return of midfielder Marc Leonard from Brighton. Meanwhile, Stevenage have been very busy in the transfer window, securing the likes of Alex MacDonald, Ben Thompson and winger Harry Anderson.
- Callum: Northampton Town 1-0 Stevenage FC
- Gary: Northampton Town 1-1 Stevenage FC
- Kelan: Northampton Town 1-1 Stevenage FC
- Ivan: Northampton Town 0-2 Stevenage FC
- Jordan: Northampton Town 0-1 Stevenage FC
Portsmouth FC Vs Bristol Rovers
Fratton Park will be the host of what should be an entertaining clash between Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers. John Mousinho’s side have been very active in the transfer window by securing the likes of Anthony Scully (Wigan) and Gavin Whyte (Cardiff) as well as winning the race for Regan Poole. Similarly, Joey Barton and his side have managed to retain the services of top-scorer Aaron Collins, as well as secure the permanent return of Barnsley winger Luke Thomas.
- Callum: Portsmouth FC 3-2 Bristol Rovers
- Gary: Portsmouth FC 2-1 Bristol Rovers
- Kelan: Portsmouth FC 3-1 Bristol Rovers
- Ivan: Portsmouth FC 1-0 Bristol Rovers
- Jordan: Portsmouth FC 3-2 Bristol Rovers
Reading FC Vs Peterborough United
Relegated Reading will begin a brand new era in League One, as they host a strong Peterborough United side, who have had a busy window so far. The Royals are now managed by former Southampton coach Ruben Selles and will be targeting a winning start. They face Darren Ferguson’s Posh side, who still possess the services of Jonson Clarke-Harris and Ronnie Edwards, but have lost midfielder Jack Taylor.
- Callum: Reading FC 1-2 Peterborough United
- Gary: Reading FC 1-2 Peterborough United
- Kelan: Reading FC 1-1 Peterborough United
- Ivan: Reading FC 1-3 Peterborough United
- Jordan: Reading FC 0-2 Peterborough United
Shrewsbury Town Vs Cheltenham Town
In what feels like a ‘derby’, Shrewsbury Town will host Cheltenham Town, following a summer in which the home side have appointed several members of the opposition’s backroom staff. Shrewsbury is boosted with the return of Tom Bayliss, following a premature ending to the 2022/23 campaign, whilst Cheltenham will begin their first third-tier campaign in recent times, without Alfie May following his exit.
- Callum: Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Cheltenham Town
- Gary: Shrewsbury Town 1-1 Cheltenham Town
- Kelan: Shrewsbury Town 0-0 Cheltenham Town
- Ivan: Shrewsbury Town 0-0 Cheltenham Town
- Jordan: Shrewsbury Town 0-0 Cheltenham Town
Wycombe Wanderers Vs Exeter City
Finally, Matt Bloomfield’s Wycombe will face off against an Exeter City side, who have suffered several big departures in the transfer window so far. The Chairboys have added the likes of Luke Leahy (Shrewsbury) and Harry Boyes (Sheffield United) to try and take them into the top six. Meanwhile, Exeter have lost the likes of Archie Collins, Josh Key and Jevani Brown this summer, but have also added quality in the form of former Tottenham midfielder Tom Carroll as the pick of the bunch.
- Callum: Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 Exeter City
- Gary: Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 Exeter City
- Kelan: Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 Exeter City
- Ivan: Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Exeter City
- Jordan: Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Exeter City