The 2021/22 League One campaign has the potential to be one of the great seasons in the third tier, with so many clubs hoping to be in and around the play-off places when Spring rolls around.
The return of fans to stadiums has been a massive boost as well, helping players raise their game and making football feel like it really matters once again.
Six of the standout performers from the first month of the season have made it onto the FLW Fans’ League One Player of the Month shortlist and before you vote, we’ve outlined why each deserves their place.
Nominees: Bailey Peacock-Farrell
Peacock-Farrell’s return to Yorkshire has been near-flawless, with the Burnley loanee keeping a clean sheet in his first four games for Sheffield Wednesday and conceding just once throughout August.
The former Leeds United shot-stopper has reminded everyone why the Clarets brought him to the Premier League in a multi-million-pound deal in 2019.
If the 24-year-old can maintain this sort of form, it will be huge for the Owls promotion hopes.
Nominees: Joe Jacobson
Despite being relegated by one point on the final day of the 2020/21 season, there’s been no sign of a hangover from Wycombe
Key to that impressive start has been experienced defender Jacobson, who has been resolute defensively at centre-back and a vital attacking cog due to his set-piece delivery.
In addition to making 19 tackles already this term, the third-highest in the division, the deadball maestro has provided two assists already and made 11 key passes.
Nominees: Oladapo Afolayan, Ryan Tunnicliffe
After spending the second half of the season on loan from West Ham, Afolayan joined Bolton permanently in the summer and has wasted no time proving his quality at League One level.
The 23-year-old’s form has been an important factor in the Trotters solid start to life back in the third tier, proving a constant threat from the left flank.
With two goals in five games, Afolayan has already doubled his goal tally from last term, while he’s also provided 11 key passes.
The drop-down from the Championship to League One has allowed Tunnicliffe to rediscover his best form and Portsmouth are reaping the benefits.
Danny Cowley’s side are just two points back from the third-tier summit and have only conceded once all season with Tunnicliffe’s contributions in midfield have been too good not to earn a place on this list.
As well as making 11 tackles, the 28-year-old has scored once and provided a division-high three assists.
Nominees: Ross Stewart, Cole Stockton
Losing Charlie Wyke in the summer to a League One rival was hardly ideal for Sunderland but Stewart’s early season form will have made supporters forget all about that.
The Scottish striker has four goals already this term, making him the division’s joint leading scorer, and those have helped the Black Cats climb to the top of the table.
Stewart offers more than just his goals as well, with his work as the figurehead of Lee Johnson’s attack seeing him also win 33 aerial duels.
Morecambe were the surprise package of League Two last season and after their play-off final win, they’ve been turning heads in the third tier in 2021/22.
No player has been more important to their strong start to the current campaign than Stockton, who has scored four of the Shrimps’ six league goals this term.
The Morecambe number nine has made himself a handful for opposition defences this term and as of yet, few have been able to keep a lid on him.