There’s no greater pleasure than taking a relatively unknown club from lower league obscurity and throwing them up the leagues in a matter of seasons. It’s what the game is about.
There are many more challenges you face in League One or Two compared to the lofty heights of taking on a PL job. There’s a lack of funds, weaker youth systems, the juggling of loan players and handling fitness and conditioning troubles. But if you get it right, success is sweeter.
So, with that in mind, here is your guide to the best clubs to manage in League One and League Two.
If you want a real harsh challenge, look no further. With financial issues and with 12 points deducted by the EFL before the current season began, they’re a club likely to go down. However, you might just be the one to defeat the steep odds and retain their League One status. A very weak squad, with a handful of seasoned pros and a good youth system for the level, shrewd and quality loan signings will be key here, and if you’re looking strong going into January, the board might offer some much needed funds to bolster the squad.
A club with a fantastic youth set up and a selection of 3.5/4 star rated potential players, Crewe offer a great basis of a club to join. Their squad is already at a level that will challenge well in the top half of the league, and with some clever purchasing they could be frontrunners for promotion. Get them up, and keep them in League One and clubs higher up the chain might just come knocking.
A giant at League One level and with some quality already across the side, managing expectations is half the job on Wearside. Currently faltering, it could prove a tough task to get key players in form, and stop prospective suitors stealing them from under your nose. However, funds should be in abundance and there will no shortfall of players wanting to sign for a club the size of Sunderland, so your transfer options will be a broad canvas.
With a mix of homegrown potential and established quality in League One, Rochdale have their own concoction of seasoned players in their late 20’s or early to mid 30’s, and those in the late teens or early 20’s. Moving the deadwood and offering chances to the kids that pepper Dale’s squad might just be your chosen route, and they could have an outside chance of climbing the table and taking on the big boys of Ipswich, Peterborough and Sunderland.
Perhaps the weakest side in the Football League, with a miniscule budget and very little ability across the squad, your work will be cut out to keep the club in League Two. It could be a long term project here, building the side piece by piece and the loan market may become your new best friend. That being said, you might be able to pluck some National League talent for relatively small fees, and you can never know where they might take you. Either way, this is a fiercely challenging job ahead, but the pot of gold at the end of the tunnel could be huge.