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Pilgrims can continue steady progress

Pilgrims can continue steady progress

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It’s difficult to see beyond Blackburn Rovers for success in League One this season but Oxford United and Plymouth Argyle could surprise.

Tony Mowbray almost saved Rovers from relegation last term and the former Middlesbrough and Celtic boss has a very strong squad at his disposal.

However, odds of 8/5 for Blackburn to clinch promotion are not very tantalising so it may be worth looking at Oxford at 9/2 as potential promotion material.

United only missed a play-off spot last term by four points and finished the 2016/17 campaign off in style by winning their last three matches.

Oxford have a solid squad, a good fan-base and are a club on the rise and the same can be said of Plymouth, who finally escaped League Two last season after spending six years in the fourth tier of English football.

The Pilgrims averaged more than 10,000 in 2016/17 and in former Ross County boss Derek Adams they have a young manager who is making a fine reputation for himself. Odds of 10/1 on Plymouth sealing back-to-back promotions seem extremely tempting.

League Two is usually a very difficult division to predict and may be even harder than usual in 2017/18 after four of the bigger teams at this level – Portsmouth, Plymouth, Blackpool and Doncaster – were all promoted last term.

Coventry City are the largest club in League Two now but the Sky Blues have been in decline for so long that boss Mark Robins may see mid-table as being more than satisfactory as he attempts to halt their slide down the divisions.

Luton Town at 8/5 may be a better bet to secure promotion. Their five-year stay in the National League is now a distant memory and, after last season’s near miss, they have what it takes to make it to League One.

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans has made 13 signings since the end of last season but it may be better to turn to Colchester United for value at 9/2 to secure promotion this term.

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Mark Race Having worked in the media for nearly 30 years, Mark knows his sport inside out and at all levels. An avid football fan, Mark also has serious knowledge of the tennis world and is quick to point out value bets in a number of other sports.