Bouncing Back: How will Alloa Athletic fare in Ladbrokes League 1?

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League 1 winners 2016-17: Alloa

Alloa Athletic may have missed out on securing another year in the Ladbrokes Championship this season, but the Wasps’ late-season form will have lifted the spirits of those at the Indodrill Stadium.

Combined with a major revamp of the squad over the summer by ambitious boss Jack Ross, Alloa appear well-equipped to finish this season as Ladbrokes League 1 champions. That’s because…

The Wasps certainly produced an upturn in both results and performances in the latter part of last season, finishing the campaign with an unbeaten run of five games, which included victory over Hibernian and a draw against Rangers at Ibrox.

And the squad which impressed in the closing weeks of last season has been bolstered by a number of high-quality acquisitions.

Calum Waters – one of Celtic’s best youth prospects in recent years – has made the move to Clackmannanshire, while Greig Spence, who scored 19 times in League 1 for Cowdenbeath this season has also been snapped up by Ross.

Perhaps even more important is the arrival of Andy Graham from Ayr United. A crucial part of the Honest Men’s success in winning promotion from this level last season, his experience could be a huge boost. So too is the pedigree of Jim Goodwin, the former Republic of Ireland international who arrives from St Mirren.

And it appears that Alloa have hit the ground running, following an imperious 4-0 defeat of Cove Rangers in their opening Scottish League Cup game. And it’s taken no time for the new men to slot in, with Spence, Graham and Jordan Kirkpatrick all finding the net.

The attacking set-up they played in that game is one of a number of formations we’ve seen from the tactically astute Ross – and his flexible and effective systems have seen Alloa switch seamlessly from 4-4-3 to a flat 4-4-2 to excellent effect in their last half-dozen competitive games.

That blend of new talent, tactical nous, and good form all mean that Alloa look very strong favourites to win the Ladbrokes League 1 title at the first time of asking, with the odds a very tempting 11/4.

The Wasps are next in action on Saturday as they travel to Montrose in the Scottish League Cup, with 17/20 for an Alloa victory – while 28/1 says they manage a second successive 4-0 triumph.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing