League Two Guide
As the big kick-off approaches, Sky Sports gives you the lowdown on each and every club in the Sky Bet League Two.
Last Updated: 01/08/13 4:15pm
The 2008 FA Cup winners Portsmouth are the eye-catching addition to Sky Bet League Two in 2013/14 as the Fratton Park faithful prepare for their first season in the fourth tier of English football since 1978.
After their Supporters' Trust finally wrestled control of the club back from the administrators it was left to former striker Guy Whittingham to put a squad together to justify their billing as clear 5/6 favourites to make an immediate return to League One.
Pompey will expect to see two of their fellow relegation victims, Hartlepool and Scunthorpe, challenging them at the top of the table.
Brian Laws' has overhauled his squad and made some smart acquisitions in Matt Sparrow, Chris Iwelumo and Andy Dawson while there is a real positive vibe around Victoria Park under Colin Cooper and Craig Hignett.
Cheltenham, Northampton and Burton fell just short last season after impressive campaigns and will be targetting the automatic slots following their play-off heartache.
The Cobblers will hope sharing Sixfields with Coventry will not hamper their prospects when the freezing weather arrives while Robins fans are delighted that Mark Yates has persuaded the likes of Jamie Cureton, Matt Richards and Ashley Vincent to join their promotion push.
When it comes to shrewd additions, Burton's double signing of former Stoke midfielder Rory Delap and Torquay's top scorer Rene Howe in July raised a few eyebrows around League Two and the latter looks well placed to fill the Calvin Zola-shaped void in their side.
Fleetwood, who moved early for proven lower league talents, and Bristol Rovers, starting a full-season under John Ward, will be many people's dark horses while the signing of winger Gary Roberts in particular means Paul Cook's Chesterfield will be a real threat.
When it comes to new faces few can top Oxford's signing of former Reading striker Dave Kitson while Rochdale will hope they can recover from the loss of their own star forward Bobby Grant to Blackpool just two weeks before the big kick off.
Southend and newly-relegated Bury, who have undergone a squad revamp, should have their sights set on top-half finishes while Wycombe and York will hope they can avoid any relegation worries. Newport's 25-year wait for a Football League return is over and along with Conference champions Mansfield the Exiles will hope for a similar final outcome.
Devon's three professional clubs were reunited in the same division for the first time in 10 years last season and the settled Grecians will look to challenge for a play-off place for the second successive campaign while the Gulls look strong enough to avoid the relegation headache of 2012/13. But while Plymouth sights are set on a League One push, a lower mid-table finish looks far more realistic.
AFC Wimbledon's Football League future came down to the dramatic final day and they look likely to be involved at the wrong end of the table once more. Dagenham, starting a season without John Still for the first time since 2003, look likely to join them while Accrington, with new boss James Beattie in charge, and Morecambe will hope for strong starts to avoid being dragged into the mix.
Manager: James Beattie
Position last season: 18th
Ground: The Crown Ground
Players in: Nicky Hunt (Rotherham, free), Shay McCartan (Burnley, free), Rob Atkinson, (Fleetwood, free) Josh Windass (free)
Players out: Charlie Barnett, Bohan Dixon, Tom Eckersley (all released), Craig Lindfield (Chester, free), Amine Linganzi (Gillingham, free), Lee Molyneux (Crewe, free), Rommy Boco (Plymouth, free), Aiden Chippendale (Bury, free)
Key man: Ian Dunbavin
Chances: James Beattie looks set to endure a real baptism of fire in his first managerial role. The departure of two key players in Lee Molyneux and Rommy Boco will not help his cause and it will be a tough season at The Crown Ground.
Manager: Neal Ardley
Position last season: 20th
Nickname: The Dons
Players in: Chris Arthur (Havant & Waterlooville, free), Barry Fuller (Barnet, free), Ross Worner (Aldershot, free), Charlie Sheringham (Bournemouth, free), George Francomb (Norwich, free), Callum Kennedy (Scunthorpe, free), George Porter (Burnley, loan), Andy Frampton (Gillingham, free)
Players out: Mat Mitchel-King, Rashid Yussuf, Pim Balkestein, Stacy Long, Curtis Osano, Jason Prior, Louis Harris, Kelly Youga, Huw Johnson, Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz (all released), Chris Hussey (Burton, free)
Key man: Jack Midson
Chances: Neal Ardley has revamped his squad following last season's relegation battle but unless he can gel them together quickly another struggle will be on the cards.
Manager: John Ward
Position last season: 14th
Nickname: The Pirates
Ground: Memorial Stadium
Players in: Steve Mildenhall, (Millwall, free) John-Joe O'Toole (Colchester, undisclosed)
Players out: Joe Anyinsah, Scott Bevan, Adam Virgo, Ross Staley, Connor Finn, Sam Kamara and Oumare Tounkara (all released)
Key man: John-Joe O'Toole
Chances: John Ward's sensational recovery job means the Pirates are promotion dark horses with the likes of Ollie Norburn, Ryan Brunt and highly-rated wingers Ellis Harrison and Shaquille Hunter on board. Will hope the injury nightmares of 2012/13 are behind them.
Manager: Gary Rowett
Position last season: 4th
Nickname: The Brewers
Ground: Pirelli Stadium
Players in: Adam Reed (Sunderland, free), Alex MacDonald (Burnley, free), Dominic Knowles, (Harrogate Town, undisclosed), Chris Hussey (AFC Wimbledon, free), Michael Symes (Leyton Orient, free), Ian Sharps (Rotherham, free), Phil Edwards (Rochdale, free), Rene Howe (Torquay, free), Rory Delap (Stoke, free)
Players out: John McGrath, Aaron Webster, Nathan Stanton, Ade Yussuf, Evan Garnett, Jack Green (all released), Andy Corbett (retired), Jacques Maghoma (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Calvin Zola (Aberdeen, free), Devarn Green (Blackburn, undisclosed), Stuart Tomlinson (retired)
Key man: Rene Howe
Chances: Having thrown away a play-off semi-final lead before losing key duo Calvin Zola and Jacques Maghoma things were looking far from rosey. But the signing of a proven goalscorer at this level in Rene Howe and the addition of the experinced Rory Delap means they will be challenging once more.
Manager: Kevin Blackwell
Position last season: 22nd in League One
Nickname: The Shakers
Ground: Gigg Lane
Players in: Gareth Roberts (Derby, free), Ashley Grimes (Rochdale, free), Euan Holden (unattached), Greg McDermott (Newcastle, free), Nathan Cameron (Coventry, free), Andy Procter (Preston, free), Tom Soares (unattached), Rob Lainton (Bolton, free), Richard Hinds (Yeovil, free), Anton Forrester (Blackburn, loan), Aiden Chippendale (Accrington, free), Reice Charles-Cook (Arsenal, free), Chris Sedgwick (Hyde, free)
Players out: David Worrall (Rotherham, undisclosed), Steven Schumacher (Fleetwood, undisclosed), Joe Skarz (Rotherham, free), Efe Sodje, David Healy, Mark Carrington, Mark Hughes, (Morecambe, free) Carl Regan, Cameron Belford, Craig Fagan, Valery Mezague, Max Harrop, Jordan Melia, Dalton McLaughlin (all released), Christian Dibble (Barnsley, free), Marcus Marshall (Morecambe, free)
Key man: Ashley Grimes
Chances: Having undergone a massive squad overhaul, the speed at which Kevin Blackwell can knit together a new-look side will dictate whether the Shakers bounce back to League One.
Manager: Mark Yates
Position last season: 5th
Nickname: The Robins
Ground: Whaddon Road
Players in: Jamie Cureton, (Exeter, free), Troy Brown, (Aldershot, free), Matt Richards. (Shrewsbury, free), Ashley Vincent, (Port Vale, free) Terry Gornell, (Rochdale, free) Craig Braham-Barrett (Macclesfield, six-month loan)
Players out: Kaid Mohamed (Port Vale, free) Harry Hooman, (Inverness) Darren Carter (Northampton, free), Bagasan Graham (released)
Key man: Steve Elliott
Chances: The Robins' tally of just two goals in their last six games hampered hopes of a Wembley return but the arrival of Jamie Cureton, who netted 21 times last season, looks like resolving that issue. Expect a promotion challenge once again.
Manager: Paul Cook
Position last season: 8th
Nickname: The Spireites
Ground: Proact Stadium
Players in: Gary Roberts, (Swindon, free) Aaron Chapman (Belper Town, undisclosed), Eoin Doyle (Hibernian, free), Jimmy Ryan (Scunthorpe, free), Sam Morsy (Port Vale, undisclosed compensation fee), Ritchie Humphreys (Hartlepool, free), Matty Brown (Marine, free), Jamie Devitt (Hull, free), Ryan Edwards (Blackburn, loan)
Players out: Neal Trotman, Danny Whitaker, Craig Clay, Jack Waddle, Scott Boden, Jonathan Wafula, Richard O'Donnell (Walsall, free) and Mark Randall (released)
Key man: Gary Roberts
Chances: Many people's dark horses after a strong finish to 2012/13, the Spireites will certainly compete if marquee signing Gary Roberts can find the form he showed during his Huddersfield days.
Manager: Wayne Burnett
Position last season: 22nd
Nickname: The Daggers
Ground: Victoria Road
Players in: Afolabi Obafemi (Leyton Orient, free), Brian Saah (Torquay, free), Rhys Murphy (SC Telstar, free)
Players out: Dominic Green, Sam Williams, Kevin Maher, Andy Burns, Duran Reynolds, Tom Davie, Ben Strevens and Jonathan Fortune (all released)
Key man: Luke Howell
Chances: The Daggers avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth last term and, following a summer of few new additions, another season of struggle beckons.
Manager: Paul Tisdale
Position last season: 10th
Nickname: The Grecians
Ground: St James Park
Players in: Doug Bergqvist, (Aldershot, free), Sam Parkin (St Mirren, free)
Players out: Jamie Cureton, (Cheltenham, free) Elliott Frear, (Salisbury, free) Guillem Bauza, Steve Tully, Rhys Evans, Kevin Amankwaah and Mark Molesley (all released)
Key man: Alan Gow
Chances: If talismanic playmaker Alan Gow and home-grown midfielder Liam Sercombe can overcome the injuries which blighted the second half of last season then this experienced Grecians squad will be pushing for a play-off place.
Manager: Graham Alexander
Position last season: 13th
Nickname: The Cod Army
Ground: Highbury Stadium
Players in: Steven Schumacher (Bury, undisclosed), Liam Hogan (Halifax, free), Matty Blair (York, free), Stewart Murdoch (Falkirk, free), Jeff Hughes (Notts County, free), Antoni Sarcevic (Chester, undisclosed), Mark Roberts (Stevenage, free), Stephen Jordan (Dunfermline, free), Ryan Cresswell (Southend, undisclosed)
Players out: Richie Allen, Rob Atkinson (Accrington, free), Anthony Barry, Kieran Charnock, Mozesh Gyorio, Jean-Michel Fontaine, Andy Mangan (Forest Green, free), Jamie McGuire, Jamie Milligan, Barry Nicholson, Danny Rowe, Liam Wynn (all released), Youl Mawene (retired), Chris Maxwell (Cambridge, loan)
Key man: Jeff Hughes
Chances: A string of early experienced signings, including Steven Schumacher and Mark Roberts, means Alexander's first full season in management should see the Cod Army comfortably top last season's finish.
Manager: Colin Cooper
Position last season: 23rd in League One
Ground: Victoria Park
Players in: Jack Compton (Colchester, free)
Players out: Evan Horwood (Tranmere, free), Nathan Buddle, Paul Johnson (Celtic Nation, free), Nathan Luscombe, Adam McHugh, Colin Nish, Ritchie Humphreys (Chesterfield, free)
Key man: Luke James
Chances: Some promising young players at Victoria Park ensure it is not all doom and gloom following relegation. If they get the right blend of youth and experience, Colin Cooper and assistant Craig Hignett could mark their first full season in charge with a promotion challenge.
Manager: Paul Cox
Position last season: 1st in Blue Square Bet Premier
Nickname: The Stags
Ground: One Call Stadium
Players in: Jamie McGuire (Fleetwood, free), Paul Black (Tranmere, free), Keiran Murtagh (Macclesfield, free), John McCombe (Port Vale, free) Martin Riley (Wrexham , free), Sam Clucas (Hereford, undisclosed)
Players out: Luke Jones (Stevenage, free), Exodus Geohaghon (released), Matt Green (Birmingham, free), Andy Todd (released)
Key man: Sam Clucas
Chances: The loss of 25-goal striker Matt Green to the Championship would be a blow to any side and although Sean Clucas and John McCombe are quality additions for this level it remains to be seen whether the lack of firepower sees the Stags drawn into a relegation battle.
Manager: Jim Bentley
Position last season: 16th
Nickname: The Shrimps
Ground: Globe Arena
Players in: Tony Diagne (Macclesfield, undisclosed), Will Bell (youth), Marcus Marshall (Bury, free), Jack Sampson (Bolton, free) Mark Hughes (Bury, free), Alex Kenyon (Stockport, free)
Players out: Will Haining, Dan Parkinson, James Short, Gary McDonald, Nick Fenton (all released), Jordan Burrow, (Stevenage, free) Lewis Alessandra (Plymouth, free)
Key man: Kevin Ellison
Chances: With departures of a string of regulars, a long-term injury to striker Jack Redshaw and an average crowd that has dipped below 2000 it looks to be a season of struggle for Jim Bentley's men.
Manager: Justin Edinburgh
Position last season: 3rd in Blue Square Premier
Nickname: The Exiles
Ground: Rodney Parade
Players in: Harry Worley (Oxford, free) Chris Zebroski (unattached), Adam Chapman. (Oxford, free)
Players out: Will Evans, Joe Parry, Jake Harris and Michael Boateng. (all released)
Key man: Aaron O'Connor
Chances: The likes of Byron Anthony, Chris Zebroski, Lenny Pidgeley and Ismail Yakubu are certainly no strangers to this level and they know Newport's form at Rodney Parade will be crucial. Expect this confident and settled squad, fresh from a Wembley win, to clinch survival.
Manager: Aidy Boothroyd
Position last season: 6th
Nickname: The Cobblers
Ground: Sixfields Stadium (sharing with Coventry)
Players in: Matt Duke (Bradford, free), Ian Morris (Torquay, free), Darren Carter (Cheltenham, free)
Players out: Adebayo Akinfenwa (Gillingham, free), John Johnson, Louis Moult, Jake Robinson, Lewis Wilson, Paul Turnbull, Seth Nana Twumasi, Luke Guttridge (all released), Clarke Carlisle (retired), Ben Harding (Torquay, free)
Key man: Chris Hackett
Chances: Failed to produce their best in last season's play-off final at Wembley, will be desperate to avenge that disappointment this time around and will be competing among the promotion contenders once more.
Manager: Chris Wilder
Position last season: 9th
Nickname: The U's
Ground: Kassam Stadium
Players in: Jonathan Meades (Bournemouth), David Hunt (Crawley, free), Danny Rose (Fleetwood, free), Josh Shama (Reading, free), Dave Kitson (Sheffield Unted, free), Asa Hall (Shrewsbury, six-month loan), Tom Newey, (Scunthorpe, free), Johnny Mullins (Rotherham, undisclosed)
Players out: Luke McCormick, (Plymouth, free) Damian Batt, Michael Duberry, Harry Worley, (Newport, free) Liam Davis, Tony Capaldi, Adam Chapman, (Newport) Simon Heslop, Peter Leven, Josh Parker, Tom Craddock (Portsmouth, free), Jon-Paul Pittman (Wycombe, free) and Justin Richards. (Tamworth)
Key man: Dave Kitson
Chances: Having penned a new deal Chris Wilder has set about overhauling an under-performing U's squad. Attracting Dave Kitson to the Kassam was something of a transfer coup and the ex-Reading man should shoot them to another mid-table finish.
Manager: John Sheridan
Position last season: 21st
Nickname: The Pilgrims
Ground: Home Park
Players in: Luke McCormick, (Oxford, free) Lewis Alessandra, (Morecambe, free), Marvin Morgan, (Shrewsbury, free) Reuben Reid (Yeovil, loan), Dominic Blizzard (Yeovil, free), Rommy Boco (Accrington, free)
Players out: Warren Feeney, (Salisbury, free) Anthony Charles, Ollie Chenoweth, Jamie Lowry, Jared Sims, Rene Gilmartin (all released), Paris Cowan-Hall (Wycombe, free)
Key man: Conor Hourihane
Chances: Argyle kept their fans sweating right until the final day before retaining their Football League status but their first pre-season under John Sheridan and some experienced acquisitions means they are unlikely to flirt with non-league football quite so regularly in 2013/14.
Manager: Guy Whittingham
Position last season: 24th in League One
Ground: Fratton Park
Players in: Patrick Agyemang (Stevenage, free), Sonny Bradley (Hull, free), Danny East (Hull, free), Romain Padovani (Monaco, free), Tom Craddock (Oxford, free), Joe Devera (Swindon, free), John Sullivan (Charlton, free), Andy Barcham (Scunthorpe, free), Ricky Holmes, (Barnet, free) Ryan Bird (Burnham, free)
Players out: Alex Grant, Gabor Gyepes (both released), Simon Eastwood (Blackburn, free)
Key man: Patrick Agyemang
Chances: Finally free of the cash problems which have seen them tumble down the divisions and almost put them out of business, Pompey should canter to the title without breaking into a sweat.
Manager: Keith Hill
Position last season: 12th
Players in: Joe Bunney (Northwich Victoria, free), Bastien Hery (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Scott Hogan (Hyde, free), Peter Vincenti (Aldershot, free), Olly Lancashire (Aldershot, free), Ashley Eastham (Blackpool, free), Matty Lund, (Stoke, free) Jack O'Connell (Blackburn, six-month loan)
Players out: Dele Adebola, Neill Byrne, Terry Gornell, Ritchie Jones, Kevin McIntyre, Matt Pearson, Sam Minihan, Matty Edwards, Luke Watson (all released), Ashley Grimes (Bury, free), Phil Edwards (Burton, free), Andy Haworth (Notts County, free), Jason Kennedy (Bradford, free)
Key man: Bastien Hery
Chances: Manager Keith Hill has made wholesale changes at Spotland during the close-season and much will depend on how quickly he can gel his players together, but some decent signings should see Dale in and around the play-offs.
Manager: Brian Laws
Position last season: 21st in League One
Nickname: The Iron
Ground: Glanford Park
Players in: Andy Dawson (Hull, free), Chris Iwelumo (Watford, free), Andy Welsh (Carlisle, free), Etienne Esajas (free), Matthew Sparrow, (Brighton, free), Dean Burton (Gillingham, free), Sean McAllister (Cowdenbeath, free)
Players out: Paul Reid, Karl Hawley, Josh Walker, Damien Mozika, Robbie Gibbons, Mike Grella (all released), Andy Barcham (Portsmouth, free), Jimmy Ryan (Chesterfield, free), Tom Newey (Oxford, free) Callum Kennedy (AFC Wimbledon, free), Mark Duffy (Doncaster, undisclosed), Akpo Sodje (Tranmere, free)
Key man: Michael Collins
Chances: Plenty of players left Glanford Park in the summer, but with some proven quality additions to his squad, manager Brian Laws will be expecting to launch a concerted bid to bounce straight back to League One.
Manager: Phil Brown
Position last season: 11th
Nickname: The Shrimpers
Ground: Roots Hall
Players in: John White (Colchester, free), Will Atkinson (Bradford, free), Ben Coker (unattached, free)
Players out: Bilel Mohsni, Mickey Spillane, John Spicer, Alex Woodyard, (all released), Neil Harris (retired), Gavin Tomlin (Port Vale, free), Elliot Benyon (Torquay, free), Ryan Cresswell (Fleetwood, undisclosed)
Key man: Kevan Hurst
Chances: The Shrimpers have been consistent play-off challengers in recent seasons and boss Phil Brown, who did not enjoy a winning conclusion to last season, will be hoping for more of the same in his first full campaign in charge.
Manager: Alan Knill
Position last season: 19th
Nickname: The Gulls
Players in: Elliot Benyon (Southend, free), Dale Tonge (Rotherham, free) Courtney Cameron (Aston Villa, free) Jordan Chapell (Sheff Utd, free), Ben Harding (Northampton, free)
Players out: Ryan Jarvis (York) Joe Oastler, Danny Leadbitter, Danny Stevens, Lloyd Macklin, Saul Halpin, Karl Baker and Craig Easton (all released), Ian Morris (Northampton, free) Rene Howe, (Burton, free) Brian Saah (Dagenham, free)
Key man: Elliot Benyon
Chances: After a topsy-turvy campaign which saw three managers in the dugout Alan Knill has begun putting his own stamp on the squad. Jordan Chapell in particular looks like a smart signing but Torquay's chances of being in the play-off mix rest heavily on Knill's ability to replace top scorer Rene Howe.
Manager: Gareth Ainsworth
Position last season: 15th
Nickname: The Chairboys
Ground: Adams Park
Players in: Charlie Horlock (Stevenage), Nick Arnold (Reading, loan), Paris Cowan-Hall (Plymouth, free), Jon-Paul Pittman (Oxford, free), 'Tommy Fletcher (Cheshunt, free) Steven Craig (unattached, free)
Players out: Grant Basey, Dennis Oli, Olly Taylor, Georges Ehui (all released), Joel Grant (Yeovil, free), Dave Winfield, (Shrewsbury, free)
Key man: Matt McClure
Chances: Gareth Ainsworth's infectious attitude since taking up the reins has unified supporters and players at Adams Park but despite that feelgood factor it could be a long season without captain Dave Winfield and winger Joel Grant.
Manager: Nigel Worthington
Position last season: 17th
Nickname: The Minstermen
Ground: Bootham Crescent
Players in: Ryan Jarvis (Torquay, free), Craig Clay (Chesterfield, free), Ryan Bowman (Hereford, compensation), Sander Puri (St Mirren, free), Chris Kettings (Blackpool, loan), Wes Fletcher (Burnley, free), Lewis Montrose (Gillingham, free), Richard Cresswell (Sheffield United, free), Ben Davies (Preston, loan)
Players out: David McDaid (Derry,free) Jamie Reed, Jason Walker, Scott Kerr, Ben Everson, Jon Challinor, Michael Potts, Chris Doig, Lee Bullock (all released), Paddy McLaughlin (Grimsby, free)
Key man: Sander Puri
Chances: Nigel Worthington has had a major clear-out and brought in seven new players this summer, including Estonia international Sander Puri, and the Minstermen are expected to make a better fist of their second season back in the Football League.