Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley feels all eyes will be on League One again next season after a couple of high-profile managerial appointments.
Barry Ferguson left newly-promoted Kelty Hearts to take over at Alloa Athletic last week, while Falkirk announced Paul Sheerin had left his coaching role at Aberdeen to take their managerial vacancy.
There will also be the added interest of Queen’s Park joining the league as a professional outfit. Ray McKinnon, the manager who guided them to the League Two title, subsequently left and has been replaced by his assistant Laurie Ellis.
Cove finished third in League One this season under Hartley, in what was their first year at this level. They were beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Airdrieonians.
The division was the most competitive heading into the run-in and Hartley reckons League One will get its fair share of attention once again.
He said: “I know Barry well. I played with him at boys’ club level, way back at under-8s at Mill United. I played with him for Scotland as well, so it’s a good appointment for Mike (Mulraney, Alloa chairman).
“Then you’ve obviously got Paul (Sheerin) going in at Falkirk as well, so it’s going to be a good league this year. They’re good appointments and they will be two strong teams.
“You’ve got Queen’s Park and Montrose too; it’ll be a strong division again and everyone will be trying to get out and promoted. Airdrie too. I think it’ll be an even tougher league this year than it was last year.
“There’s going to be a lot of attention on the league, with the teams that are in it and the managers that are getting appointed. There’s teams that are full-time and teams that have come up.”
Cove are in the process of strengthening their squad for next season, with four players tied down to new deals. Captain Mitch Megginson, who signed a new three-year contract earlier this year, was also named League One player of the year last weekend.
Alloa, who are dropping down from the Championship, are likely to target an immediate return to the second tier, while Falkirk will once again try to end their stay in League One.
Airdrieonians fell short in the play-off final against Morton and Queen’s Park have picked up a significant number of players from a higher level in their push to climb the leagues.
Hartley added: “It’s very competitive. There’s good footballing teams, teams that are going to have a go, ambitious teams like ourselves. Every game was so tough for us last year and it’ll be the same this year.
“We’ve seen what’s required last year. This year is going to be even more difficult. We’ve got to get the recruitment and the personnel right to mount a challenge.”
Cove will return for pre-season training later this month, ahead of the Premier Sports Cup getting underway.
The Balmoral Stadium side were drawn in a group with Championship title-winners Hearts, Caley Thistle, north-east rivals Peterhead and Stirling Albion.
Hartley said: “I think they’re tough competitive games but we’ll try get everybody as many minutes as we can to prepare them for the opening league game of the season. I’ve always gone along those lines.”