SkyBet Football League: 20 questions ahead of 2016-17 season

Ahead of the start of the 2016-17 campaign, here are 20 questions across the three divisions to keep in mind as the games progress.

Ball and vanishing spray (Reading v QPR - 3rd Dec 2015)
Rebrand: The Football League has been christened the English Football League from this season but will still be sponsored by SkyBet (Picture from Sky Sports)

AS the days count down until the first ball is kicked to launch the most eagerly-awaited Football League season in years, there are a number of things to keep a close eye on.

From managerial arrivals and the battle for promotion to new faces settling in at clubs and who is going to find it tough to survive, there are sub-plots galore across the Championship, League One and League Two in 2016-17.

Here are 20 questions which will hopefully be answered by the time the play-offs come around in May…


Rafael Benitez in dugout (v Man City - 19th April 2016)
Times quickly change: The former Liverpool boss was in charge of Spanish giants Real Madrid 12 months ago (Picture from Sky Sports)

1)    Will Rafael Benitez guide Newcastle to an immediate top-flight return?

2)    How will Burton Albion fare on their Championship debut?

3)    Is Chris Wilder the man to take Sheffield United up from League One at long last?

Nigel Clough on sidelines (v Southend - 22nd Feb 2016)
Unchartered territory: The former Derby boss helped the Brewers secure successive promotions last term in his second spell in charge (Picture from Sky Sports)

4)    Will Championship defences be terrified of Wigan Athletic’s Will Grigg?

5)    What does the campaign hold for beleaguered Aston Villa, under new management?

6)    Can Rotherham United kick on under Alan Stubbs?

Alan Stubbs watches on (3-0 v Alloa - 21st Feb 2016)
New league: Former Everton defender Stubbs is fresh from guiding Hibernian to their first Scottish Cup triumph since 1902 (Picture from Sky Sports)

7)    Can Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday bounce back after play-off disappointment?

8)    How will newly-promoted Grimsby Town adapt to life back in the Football League?

9)    Will the league meetings of AFC Wimbledon and MK Dons live up to expectation?

Chris Hughton and Carlos Carvalhal
Working wonders: Brighton boss Chris Hughton (left) and Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal guided their teams to the play-offs against the odds (Picture from Sky Sports)

10)   Is this the year Leeds United sustain a Championship play-off push?

11)    Will Portsmouth finally make the first step on the road to recovery?

12)    Was the decision to replace Kenny Jackett with Walter Zenga right for Wolves?

13)    How will the fresh faces in Lancashire get on at their respective new clubs?

Lancashire new managers 2016-17
(Clockwise, from top left)  Blackpool’s Gary Bowyer, Uwe Rosler at Fleetwood, Blackburn’s Owen Coyle and Phil Parkinson at Bolton all have new jobs in the county

14)    Is the legendary Jaap Stam cut out for being a Championship manager?

15)    Do the likes of Ipswich Town, Birmingham and Cardiff City have enough for another top-six finish in the Championship?

16)    What does the campaign have in store for Northampton Town under Rob Page in League One?

17)    Are Bradford equipped for a Championship challenge on Stuart McCall’s return?

Stuart McCall at Ibrox (Rangers v Cowdenbeath Scottish Cup - 10th Jan 2016)
Back on familiar ground: The ex-Rangers and Motherwell manager, 52, was first at the helm at Valley Parade between 2007 and 2010 (Picture from Sky Sports)

18)    Can Darrell Clarke continue the remarkable Bristol Rovers revival?

19)    Will Hartlepool United be able to avoid falling down the trapdoor into the National League once again?

20)    Can Derby County’s talented crop fulfil their potential under Nigel Pearson?

Nigel Pearson on sidelines (v Chelsea - 29th April 2015)
Experience: The ex-Hull City boss masterminded Leicester’s remarkable turnaround to avoid Premier League relegation in 2014-15 (Picture from Sky Sports)

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