How will Brighton fare without Gus Poyet, can Yeovil's incredible rise go on and can Gianfranco Zola stir up the Hornets again?
There can have been few messier divorces in English football than this summer's turbulent separation of Brighton and Gus Poyet and it is of great intrigue to see how the team fares under the Uruguayan's replacement, Oscar Garcia. Brighton finished fourth last season, then lost a play-off semi-final to Crystal Palace, and it is up to Garcia to maintain that momentum as well as the attractive style of play Poyet had instilled at the Amex Stadium.
After a two-year spell in the Premier League that involved three different managers and a succession of poor signings, Queens Park Rangers crash land back in the Championship. Harry Redknapp must now instil a spirit of unity in a fractious squad and he has begun the process by getting rid of Djibril Cissé and Christopher Samba and signing such grizzled veterans as Richard Dunne and Karl Henry. Will it work? Who knows, but what's for sure is that QPR fans are in for another less-than-dull season.
A decade after joining the Football League, Yeovil Town are now a promotion away from the Premier League. The chances of that happening are slim to non-existent but the Somerset club are sure to revel in their first campaign in the second tier, and so they should given their achievement. They have done so with an annual wage bill of barely £1m and a squad made up of journeymen and youngsters. Then there is their manager, Gary Johnson, back in the Championship again after losing the 2008 play-off final with Bristol City.
It's been a bad few months for pay-day loan firm Wonga, what with irate Bolton fans, refusenik Papiss Cissé and now the Archbishop of Canterbury all turning their fire Wonga's way. But somewhat forgotten in all the rage against the company with 5,853% APR is that they have been sponsoring Blackpool since 2010. With all the fuss swirling around, the Seasiders may find themselves coming under pressure this season to declare there is something wrong with Wonga.
Along with death and taxes, a managerial change at Blackburn has become one of football's certainties, with five – yes five – men holding the post last season. Gary Bowyer took temporary charge of the team on two occasions and, come the end of the campaign, was given the job on a long-term basis. But long-term has come to mean little at Venky's-controlled Ewood and it is almost certain Bowyer, an experienced coach, will not be in situ for long. How many will follow him?
In stark contrast to Blackburn, Millwall know what it means to stand by your manager, having had the same man at the helm for close to six seasons. That all came to an end in May, when Kenny Jackett resigned having kept the team in the Championship and led them to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. The former Northern Ireland international and West Ham midfielder Steve Lomas is the new man in charge and there is sure to be a great and perhaps difficult process of readjustment at the New Den.
Few clubs can have experienced such a tumultuous end to last season as Watford. They missed out on automatic promotion on the last day of the campaign, and reached the play-off final in the most dramatic of circumstances before then losing to Crystal Palace at Wembley. Gianfranco Zola's side aim to go one better and having worked around a transfer embargo and the Football League's new rules on foreign loan deals to make 14 signings, Watford are certainly fattening up nicely for a promotion push.
Such was the nature of Leicester's defeat to Watford in the play-off semi-finals that many forgot it was something of a failure that the team found themselves in that position in the first place. Leicester looked candidates for automatic promotion until a late-season collapse in form meant they almost missed out on the play-offs. Nigel Pearson kept his job, but at a club of wealth and ambition, he is unlikely to get away with another failure to reach the Premier League's promised land.
Coventry's fall from grace continues apace and the startling decision by owners Sisu to play their home games 34 miles away in Northampton has naturally led to outrage from supporters. Protests are ongoing but as things stand the Sky Blues are set to play their first home match at Sixfields on 11 August, against Bristol City. All eyes will be on how many spectators actually turn up – and how those that do express their dissatisfaction.
How many people are prepared to watch League One's 17th-placed side? On average, 4,302 souls. That was Carlisle's typical gate at Brunton Park last season, almost 1,000 down on the campaign before and low enough to cause concern in Cumbria. "We're going to work even harder to win back the fans that have gone missing," says their manager, Greg Abbott, with winning matches his key tactic in the fight again falling attendances. But could the Cumbrians employ other lures? Maybe free pies, or even half-time unicyclists?
Having become the first club to twice suffer back-to-back relegations from the top flight, Wolves know theirs is a scalp every other side in the division will be aiming to take this season. The appointment of the former Millwall stalwart Kenny Jackett as manager appears a shrewd one but he will be aware of the need to get off to a good start, beginning with Saturday's tricky visit to Preston. The return of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from a long-term injury was timely.
Having lost to Huddersfield in the 2012 play-off final and then to Yeovil in last season's play-off semi-finals it could be said that Sheffield United are going backwards in their attempts to return to the Championship. But United's huge support means they are always a contender for promotion and having been busy in the transfer market under the new manager, David Weir – bringing in Febian Brandy, Stephen McGinn, Lyle Taylor and Conor Coady – this finally could be the year the Blades go up.
Last season's most heartwarming football story was possibly Bradford's two treks to Wembley. The Capital One Cup final was lost to Premier League slicks Swansea but the brilliant Bantams then went and beat Northampton Town in the play-off final and so are back in the third tier. Heroes such as goalkeeper Matt Duke have left but there should still be a spring in the step of Phil Parkinson's side and it will be interesting to see if they can get anywhere close to matching the magic of that memorable 2012-13 campaign.
Joy for Yeovil in last season's League One play-off final meant heartache for Brentford, who were defeated at Wembley having missed out on automatic promotion to Doncaster after seeing their last-gasp penalty go badly awry. Uwe Rösler's side could be forgiven for going into the new campaign in low spirits, but according to last season's top scorer, Clayton Donaldson, the Bees are buzzing. Surely, however, they will be desperate to go straight up having now failed to progress from seven successive play-off campaigns.
Putting the words "James Beattie" and "manager" together still looks odd but it will certainly be interesting to see how the former Southampton, Everton and England forward fares in his first full season in charge of Accrington Stanley. The 35-year-old helped keep the club in the division as player-coach last season and a similar herculean task is likely to face him this time around at the Crown Ground.
Outside Milton Keynes there are surely few people who do not retain a soft spot for AFC Wimbledon. The club created by fans for fans prove modern football isn't all bad and their rise into the Football League two years ago was welcomed by many neutrals. But last season that almost came crashing, with AFC Wimbledon requiring a last-day victory over Fleetwood Town to survive. A tight budget means Neal Ardley's side are likely to be scrapping for survival yet again but that will only add to the sense of achievement if they can beat the odds .
Few clubs feel as cheerful post-relegation as Portsmouth did at the end of last season. Yes, the 2008 FA Cup winners are in the fourth tier but after years of turmoil and facing football extinction, the club are now in the hands of the Pompey Supporters' Trust and under the management of club legend Guy Whittingham. There is fresh optimism at Fratton Park, reflected in the sale of 10,000 season tickets for the new campaign, and a sense that this most battered of clubs could be about to make a charge back up the divisions.
Anyone who believes that it is only Premier League clubs who make interesting foreign signings should head down to Gigg Lane this season, for there they will get the chance to see a full Rwanda international in action.
Jessy Reindorf has just arrived from the Belgian club Union Royale Namur and the 6ft 5in striker, who has two caps for his country, has already been dubiously dubbed the "new Kevin Francis" by his manager Kevin Blackwell.
Five years after they were last in the Football League, Mansfield Town are back and keen to make an impact. The club's owner, John Radford, and his wife-come-chairman, Carolyn, have spoken about achieving successive promotions, and while that seems unlikely for a club that recently had to spend £148,000 just to get their stadium up to Football League standards, the Stags are likely to make their presence felt in the coming campaign.
Also making a return to the Football League – and completing a remarkable journey with the club relegated from the fourth tier in 1988 and wound up a year later – are Newport County. Their rebirth eventually led to victory over fellow Welsh side Wrexham in May's Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final and now Justin Edinburgh's side will aim to build on football's feel-good factor in the principality established by the presence in the Premier League of Swansea and Cardiff plus Gareth Bale's sparkling form at Spurs.