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After almost a decade in the second division of English football Sheffield Wednesday Start life in League One with a trip to Charlton Athletic Saturday night.
The hosts had mixed preparations for the season – they won, drew and lost two games each – while the owls had already seen competitive action and lost to Huddersfield Town in the League Cup.
Prediction for this match
For the fourth time in five years, Charlton will compete in the third division of English football and expectations for a positive campaign have now risen.
With all the troubles The Valley has faced over the past few seasons, there is now optimism that the club can go back in the right direction and promotion is firmly on the agenda this season.
Nigel Adkinswho replaces Lee Bowyer in March he took over the last 10 league games of last season and lost only once. However, the Addicks narrowly missed a playoff place due to the goal difference and finished in seventh place.
The 56-year-old is a popular date among the Charlton fan base as his leadership skills and flair for working with young talent are a perfect match for the squad available to him.
New owner Thomas Sandsgaard plans to invest in the remaining weeks of the window to complement the five signings made earlier this summer. All five will be on the matchday squad this weekend for the opening game against Sheffield Wednesday, against which they last competed in the championship two years ago.
Charlton lost both times to the Owls in 2019-20, but that won’t cross their minds on Saturday. The Addicks will appreciate their chances of scooping all three points on home soil as they try to kick off the new campaign in style.
After nine seasons in the championship, Sheffield Wednesday was relegated to League One last year, with a six point deduction for violating EFL spending rules being one of the main reasons for their demise.
Despite a transfer embargo until last month preventing them from paying transfer fees, a drastic roster overhaul took place this summer at Hillsborough, with 14 players leaving and 11 joining the club.
Darren Moore Now has the big job of getting these players off to a great start quickly, where a strong start is required to have a chance of getting back to the second division.
After an early knockout on penalties against Huddersfield last weekend in the first round of the League Cup, life in League One begins with a tricky trip to The Valley, where the Owls have only won twice in their last seven games. However, they have won each of their last three duels against Charlton, scoring seven goals in the process.
Wednesday’s fans haven’t had much laughing lately and off-field instability continues, but a Saturday win could be a much-needed stepping stone to kick off the new campaign.
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Charlton boss Adkins named a strong starting XI in the pre-season loss to Fulham last weekend and he could name a similar team on Saturday.
New recruit Craig MacGillivray will start in goal and will likely be protected by central defenders Ryan Inniss and Norwich City Borrower Akin Famewo.
Ben Purrington It’s unlikely to appear after a pre-season knock, hence, too Jacob Roddy or Chris Gunter could start as a left-back.
Sean Clare and George Dobsonwho joined the club from Oxford United and Sunderland this summer are expected to start alongside central midfield Albie Morgan, while Jayden Stockley – who scored eight goals on loan at The Valley in the second half of last season – will lead the line-up.
As for Sheffield Wednesday, the majority of the eleven newcomers will be competing on Saturday.
Like Charlton, the Owls could make their league debut for a new goalkeeper in the form of Bailey Peacock-Farrell on loan from Premier League club Burnley while Jack Hunt – who is returning from Bristol City – is scheduled to start as a right-back.
Liam Palmer started the last game as a left-back before Jaden Brownwho came from Huddersfield and the former could keep his place in the first XI.
Lewis wing and Dennis Adeniran – brought from Middlesbrough and Everton respectively – will both switch to the experienced captain Barry Bannan in central midfield while either Lee Gregory or Callum Paterson will probably start at the beginning.
Charlton Athletic possible starting line-up:
MacGillivray; Matthews, Inniss, Famewo, Roddy; Clare, Dobson, Morgan; Jaiyesimi, Stockley, Washington
Sheffield Wednesday possible starting line-up:
Peacock farrell; Hunt, Iorfa, Hutchinson, Palmer; Adeniran, bannan, wings; Green, Paterson, Shodipo
Probability: Charlton Athletic 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday
With both teams recruiting several new players over the course of the summer, Saturday’s game could be seen as an experiment for both managers who will try to form their strongest starting lineups at the start of the season.
The Valley is a highly competitive competition, and since the two teams are indistinguishable from each other, the booty could be shared.
Best betting tip for this match
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