League One 2016/17 Golden Boot – The Candidates

LG1

Two of the top four goalscorers in League 1 now find themselves playing Championship football with their respective clubs, namely golden boot Will Grigg with Wigan Athletic and Barnsley's Sam Winnall. If you add that Winnall is joined at Oakwell by Tom Bradshaw (number 8 from the list) and Adam Armstrong (number 5) returns to Newcastle, it gives some credence to the notion that a proven goalscorer will put you right in the mix for promotion.

With the new campaign in its infancy we look at the men tipped to find the back of the net most regularly by the bookmakers and take Grigg's crown as top marksman in the division this time round.

Lee Gregory (8/1)

The 27-year old Millwall striker was signed from Halifax Town in 2014 for £250,000 and averages just under a goal every other game. Regularly linked with a move to the Championship, where he has scored albeit less prolifically for the Lions, the hotshot is favourite to go better than his joint 5th place in the scoring charts this time round. Registered from the penalty spot in the opening win against Oldham.

Billy Sharp (9/1)

Returning to where it all began for the Sheffield born and bred striker, who is now in his third spell at Bramall Lane. Sharp was the 4th top scorer last season in League 1 with 21 goals and the Blades are perennial title favourites. Once signed for nearly £2,000,000 by Southampton in January 2012 he definitely is capable of achieving the golden boot, but will the signing of Leon Clarke limit his playing time? Scored against Rochdale already this season after drawing a blank against Bolton on the opening day.

Matty Taylor (10/1)

Bristol Rovers were fired to promotion with the goals of Taylor who notched up an impressive 27 goals, more than any other player in the Football League in 2015/16. Linked with a move away from the club in the close season, Gas fans must have been delighted when he signed a new deal amid interest. Despite playing at a new level this season Taylor has really hit the ground running; scoring in both his appearances in the league against Scunthorpe and Oxford.

Kieran Agard (12/1)

The former Everton trainee was signed on the 11 August 2016 by MK Dons for a club-record transfer fee from Bristol City, having fallen out of favour with the Championship club. Agard struggled for goals last season with the Robins but was far more prolific the season previous as his 13 league goals earned him a promotion winners medal. Only two days after signing for the Dons he scored a brace for his new club to rescue a point against Millwall.

Nicky Ajose (12/1)

As Charlton seek to bounce back at the first time of asking they have turned to former Manchester United trainee Ajose to replicate his goal scoring touch of last season with Swindon Town; where he scored 24 league goals, making him the second most effective finisher behind Grigg. Whether Ajose can form an effective partnership with another new arrival in Josh Magennis, only time will tell, but the off field problems with the Addicks can only be an unwelcome distraction. He is yet to score this season for his new employers.

Ched Evans (14/1)

The Welshman's off-field exploits have been well documented but Chesterfield have given him a platform to rebuild his career after four years out of the game. Still only 27 years old the powerful striker was previously brought by Sheffield United for £3,000,000 and has managed a better than a goal every other game during his career. The Spirites certainly hope that Evans continues his fantastic start to the season, having found the net in both league games against Oxford and Swindon.

Paddy Madden (16/1)

The Irishman notched 20 league goals last season as Scunthorpe finished just outside the playoffs, joint 5th in the top scorers list. As the former Yeovil Town striker struggled to find the back of the net at Championship level in 2013/14 the Iron astutely snared the striker who was convinced to drop down to League 2. Fast forward two years and Madden has been top scorer for Scunthorpe and he has established himself as a threat at League 1 level. Not played this season due to injury, his goal scoring mantle has been up by Kevin van Veen.

Leon Clarke (20/1)

15 goals for Bury last season earned the journeyman striker a move to Sheffield United in the close season for an undisclosed fee. The 31-year old powerhouse broke onto the scene with his local club, Wolves, and has enjoyed successful spells with Sheffield Wednesday, Scunthorpe, Coventry and Chesterfield. A real handful on his day if new Blades boss Chris Wilder can get Clarke on his A-game. Not yet scored in the league this season but found the net in the EFL Cup exit to Crewe.

Simeon Jackson (20/1)

Walsall have signed the Canadian striker from Blackburn to hopefully replace the void left by Tom Bradshaw, who has departed to Barnsley. Having begun his career at non-league Rushden & Diamonds, Jackson moved to Gillingham and then Norwich where he found the net with some regularity. A mixture of injuries and falling out of favour over the next few years finds him looking to rebuild his career with Jon Whitney's newly put together Saddlers team. A dream debut for him to remember with a brace against AFC Wimbledon.

Gary Madine (25/1)

Arriving from Sheffield Wednesday for the start of the 2015 /16 season the powerful Madine has proven he can score goals given opportunities at a higher level. The Trotters will be hoping that the 6ft 3ins striker can reproduce the goalscoring form he captured whilst with Wednesday, Blackpool and Coventry but much will depend on the service provided by Liam Trotter, Mark Davies and the mercurial Zach Clough. Scored the winner on Saturday to AFC Wimbledon.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (25/1)

The former Arsenal man arrived at Priestfield on a season-long loan from QPR on the 6 August 2016, hoping to re-create his form with Bristol City of 2014/15 where he and Kieran Agard combined as the Robins ran away with the title. The 6ft striker is somewhat of an enigma, capable of the sublime on his day but also going missing. JET began his Gillingham career promisingly, scoring on debut in the fight back against Southend, then a brace against the same team in the cup three days later.

Nicky Maynard (25/1)

The one time Hammer has been signed for an accumulated transfer fee of over £6,000,000 in his career but arrived at Stadium MK on a free transfer from Cardiff City. Maynard hasn't really found the form that made his name whilst at Crewe or Bristol City where he racked up 77 league goals over six seasons before his West Ham move. That's not to say he doesn't know his way to goal, finding the net at every club he has been to. Not yet scored this term.

Those are the favourites to take the prize, however with youngster Andrew Cannon scoring regularly at the moment for Rochdale and the reliable Tom Pope and Lyle Taylor scoring with Bury and AFC Wimbledon respectively it's perfectly plausible that the eventual winner will come from outside the list.

Pete Sadler

Amateur Footballer, Walsall Season Ticket Holder and Co-Manager of Racing Blythe U-14s. Lover of a hat and/or a snood.