NEW owners, a new manager, new players… but will it be the same old Sunderland?

That is what the long-suffering fans up on Wearside will be wondering as they embark on their first third-tier campaign in 30 years.

Supremo Stewart Donald has done his best to win over the supporters already with fan podcast appearances and a popular move to replace 10,000 ‘pink seats’ at the Stadium of Light.

He has also enticed a promising young boss in Ross from north of the border and will hope the Scot will cross the divide as comfortably as compatriots Alex Neil and Derek Adams.

But there is still a lack of quality in the squad, even at League One level, which goes against any talk of the Black Cats running away with it.

In fact it is hard to see any stand-out favourites this year - in stark contrast to last term where Wigan and Blackburn were clearly a cut above.

It gives hope to all sides in the division that it could be their year if the recruit smartly, go on a run and get lucky with injuries.

Barnsley seemed too inexperienced for the Championship last term but now their squad suddenly looks full of talent and youthful energy in this division.

They have followed Huddersfield and Norwich’s lead in appointing a German manager with no English football experience and Daniel Stendel will hope to fare far better than his predecessor Jose Morais.

Burton meanwhile are being overlooked by many in the bookies’ market but as they have shown countless times in the last decade, you underestimate them at your peril.

Yes, they have a small budget, but Nigel Clough is a solid, experienced manager with largely the same squad that has played Championship football for the last two years.

In a league of clubs constantly trying to reinvent themselves, it could be the unfancied team that has stuck by its principles - and its people - that comes out on top.

Had record-buy Liam Boyce not suffered a long-term knee injury last August Albion could well have stayed up and the fit-again forward will look to make up for lost time now.

The field is so wide open this term that teams that have come up will not be ruling out their chances of a double promotion.

Nathan Jones has been banging on about how Luton see themselves as a Championship side for a while now and look in decent nick to prove it.

Loan signing Jorge Grant was way too good for League Two last term and could shine in the division above this season.

Better can be expected from Kenny Jackett’s Portsmouth, as well as Oxford and Southend now Karl Robinson and Chris Powell have had some time to get their feet under their respective tables.

It has been all change at Peterborough - as it always is - this summer.

The expected sale of 30-goal striker Jack Marriott could be a player trade too far for Posh, who have excelled at polishing rough diamonds and selling them on for big profit over the years. Then again, Jason Cummings could be the next hidden gem.

Lee Bowyer played a blinder in taking Charlton to the play-offs last term.

But the the Londoners are cash poor, are rudderless at board level and never look too far away from another crisis while Roland Duchatelet remains at the helm.

Bowyer defied expectation just a few months ago but the jury is out as to whether he can do it again given the Addicks’ problems.

Promoted clubs tend to fare well in League One and Accrington have no reason not to feel confident of continuing that trend, despite their tiny budget.

The same can be said for Wycombe, where Gareth Ainsworth has marshalled superbly a dad’s army that include one of the game’s great characters, Adebayo ‘Beast’ Akinfenwa.

But time may be up for the likes of Walsall, no longer able to call on the ‘Turkish Messi’ Erhun Oztumer, AFC Wimbledon and, sadly, Shrewsbury who have lost their manager and half their team after last season’s heroics.

Tom Barclay is a Football Writer for The Sun

Walsall - 1pt @ 2/1