Sunday, July 31, 2011

League Two Season Preview-Part II

Hereford United: A team that struggled last season who finished 21st in the process and another relegation battle does seem likely for Hereford. Stuart Fleetwood is key to any success having scored 14 last season. I expect a relegation fight once again with anything else a bonus for the Bulls.

Macclesfield Town: They have seemingly been punching above their weight for a few seasons now. Maccelsfield Town have been quiet in the transfer market with the most notable event the exit of Tyrone Barnett to fellow League Two side Crawley. I would expect a bottom half finish for the Cheshire side.

Morcambe: They surprised everyone the season before last when they reached the play-offs, although last season was a more modest event. Morcambe are definitely a team that are capable of surprises although I expect a bottom half position once again.

Northampton Town: The Cobblers flirted with relegation for the majority of last season which prompted the arrival of Gary Johnson. Fortunes never really improved although Johnson now has an opportunity to put his own stamp on the team and bring his choice of players in. I expect a rise through the table this season with a top half finish and possibly challenging play-offs.

Oxford United: Had an impressive first season back in the football league and looked in contention for a play-off spot most of the season. Oxford have made additions to their squad including Peter Leven from MK Dons. As much as I hate to say it, I think they will have a good season and reach the play-offs.

Plymouth Argyle: How well Plymouth perform this season is largely dependant on financial issues. Argyle have suffered a double relegation following a 10 point deduction last season. They have lost key players including striker Joe Mason to Cardiff City. Peter Reid is likely to be forced to settle for free transfers and several loanees to supplement the wafer thin side he does have. I would predict a mid-table finish for Plymouth.

Port Vale: Much like Plymouth, Vale's fortune are dependant on the actions in the boardroom. Last season, their form suffered when manager Micky Adams departed for Sheffield United and eventually finished outside the play-offs. However, Adams has now returned to Vale Park and is a good manager. He will have his work cut out as attendances are likely to take a nose dive.

Rotherham United: I fully expect the Millers to be challenging for a play-off or an automatic promotion place. Rotherham are standing firm over striker Adam le Fondre who is a fantastic player at this level. Andy Scott is fairly inexperienced as a manager but felt he did a good job at Brentford last season. The signing of Danny Schofield from Millwall was a great acquisition.

Shrewsbury Town: Shrewsbury have somewhat of a play-off curse having been defeated twice in recent seasons. They will be looking to go one better this season and have made noises in the transfer market to back that. Shrewsbury have signed the controversial Marvin Morgan, who providing is kept happy will be a good asset. Although I expect a play-off place and hopefully for them it will be third time lucky at Wembley.

Southend United: Paul Sturrock worked wonders with a largely depleted squad last season finishing a respected 13th. This summer has witnessed the departure of captain Craig Easton after a single season at Roots Hall. With a more together squad this time round, I am predicting a top half finish with an outside chance of the play-offs. They have an experienced front line in Neil Harris and Barry Corr which is sure to get them goals.

Swindon Town: The appointment of Di Canio could either be a masterstroke or a train wreck. Some signings are also a gamble with the majority of signings having no experience in England. The squad has seen a massive overhaul although Swindon have kept key players Paul Caddis and Matt Ritchie.  Expectations are high with play-offs a minimum.

Torquay United: Defeated play-off finalists have lost their manager Paul Buckle to Bristol Rovers. Top scorer Chris Zebroski also followed Buckle to the Memorial Stadium following a transfer request. They have also lost influential defender Guy Branston to Bradford. I predict a long hard season ahead with a place in the bottom half for the Gulls.

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