Word of warning for Brighton over Mackail-Smith purchase

League One’s big hitters don’t always build on a strong season

How League One goal-getters have adapted when stepping up in the last eight seasons

Brighton have pulled off what could prove to be the coup of the summer in the Football League by overcoming competition from Championship promotion favourites West Ham and Leicester to sign Craig Mackail-Smith from Peterborough.

The striker scored 27 times for Posh in League One last season and has had a campaign in the second tier before, finishing with a respectable in the context of the chaos at London Road that term but unremarkable tally of ten goals.

Will he prove a bigger success at the level this time around? The omens appear promising but as our graph above shows, the highest League One scorer to play in The Championship the following year has followed up by netting five or fewer in four of the last eight years.

The latest of those to spectacularly fail to live up to expectations when given a more illustrious stage to perform on was Billy Paynter, who followed up a 26-goal campaign at Swindon by striking just once in 22 Championship appearances for the division’s second most prolific team, Leeds.

Our intention isn’t to crush the optimism of Seagulls supporters after such an exciting arrival though and indeed two have defied the trend by firing in 20 or more goals to take the average total of those stepping up to a respectable 9.5.

Those were both representing sides high on confidence after securing promotion from League One too: Robert Earnshaw at Cardiff and Jason Scotland at Swansea.

It is fair to say that the ability to instantly adapt acts as a litmus test for Premier League onlookers wondering if the potential and fearlessness is there to raise their game once again, as both received a chance in the top-flight, something only afforded to one other player of the eight – Simon Cox.

Will Mackail-Smith follow in their footsteps by swiftly settling in on his latest Championship adventure? If you think so, Sky Bet are offering odds of 14/1 on him being top goalscorer.

1 response so far
  • Col // July 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    It’s not all about the top scorers tho…

    Grant Holt for example; 24 in League One, 21 in Championship the year after.

Leave a comment
  1. View comments in RSS feed