League Two preview
The new season kicks-off on Saturday, and we begin our countdown with a club-by-club guide.
Last Updated: 14/08/12 6:38pm
The 2012/13 football season kicks-off in a matter of days, and we begin our countdown with a preview of the teams in League Two.
Last year's campaign saw Hereford and Macclesfield relegated, while Swindon Town, Shrewsbury Town, Crawley Town and Crewe Alexandra made the leap to League One.
This year's early favourites are Rotherham United. The Millers finished the 2011/12 campaign in 10th position but manager Steve Evans has recruited extensively to ensure the South Yorkshire side start the season well in their new stadium.
Newly-promoted Fleetwood Town are fancied for back-to-back promotions after making some impressive signings over the summer. The experienced pair of Damien Johnson and Jon Parkin will be crucial as the season unfolds. Despite losing striker Jamie Vardy to Leicester City for £1million, the Cod Army look strong for a push towards League One.
Phil Parkinson's Bradford City could be the surprise packages of the campaign. The Bantams have managed to keep Nahki Wells but their recruiting this summer will have surprised a few. Andrew Davies (Stoke), Gary Jones (Rochdale) and Alan Connell (Swindon) have all moved to Valley Parade and they look a good price to be in and around the running for promotion.
After finishing 22nd last season, Barnet's chances of survival once again look bleak after the departure of Izale McLeod. The Bees are specialists at staying up on the final day but the club's final season at Underhill looks like it could end in disappointment.
AFC Wimbledon manager Terry Brown will be hoping his side can improve their 16th place finish last season. The Dons' star man Jack Midson has recently signed a new contract after scoring 20 goals last season. Brown has done well to add to his squad and the extra bonus of keeping Midson should help them stay clear of the drop and improve on last year.The season will be underway on Saturday 18th August and once again it looks like League Two fans will be in for a cracker.
Manager: Paul Cook
Position last season: 14th
Ground: The Crown Ground
Players in: Toto Nsiala (Everton, free), Bohan Dixon (unattached), Lewis Hatch (Liverpool, free), Luke Clark, George Miller (both Preston, free), Michael Liddle (Sunderland, undisclosed), Aidan Chippendale (unattached), Tom Eckersley (Bolton, free), James Gray (unattached, free), Karl Sheppard (Reading, loan)
Players out: Kevin McIntyre (Rochdale, free), Danny Coid, Liam Willis, Alan Burton, Kurtis Guthrie and Sean Hessey (all released)
Key man: Dean Winnard
Chances: No great expectations on Cook ahead of his first full season in charge with Stanley which is expected to be a transitional one after John Coleman's lengthy tenure.
Manager: Terry Brown
Position last season: 16th
Nickname: The Dons
Ground: Cherry Red Records Stadium/Kingsmeadow
Players in: Curtis Osano (Luton, free), Stacy Long (Stevenage, free), Louis Harris (Wolves, free), Warren Cummings (Bournemouth, free), Pim Balkestein (Brentford, free), Angus MacDonald (Reading, loan)
Players out: Sam Hatton, Jamie Stuart, Chris Bush, Fraser Franks, Gareth Gwillim, Brett Johnson, Reece Jones, Ricky Wellard, Kieran Djilali, Ryan Jackson and Jack Turner (all released)
Key man: Jack Midson
Chances: Brown has been wheeling and dealing on a limited budget as usual but his best piece of business was persuading Midson to sign a new contract. Midson's 20 goals kept the Dons out of trouble last season and they should steer clear again this term.
Manager: Dean Holdsworth
Position last season: 11th
Nickname: The Shots
Ground: Recreation Ground
Players in: Anthony Tonkin (Oxford, free), Ollie Lancashire (Walsall, free), Troy Brown (Rotherham, free), Guy Branston (Bradford, free), Craig Stanley (Bristol Rovers, free), Craig Reid (Stevenage, undisclosed), Sonny Bradley (Hull, loan)
Players out: Darren Jones (Shrewsbury, free), Anthony Straker (Southend, tribunal fee), Bradley Bubb (Woking, season-long loan)
Key man: Peter Vincenti
Chances: Aldershot manager Holdsworth showed his commitment to the club by opting not to join promoted Crawley over the summer. A famous League Cup run was the catalyst for a mid-table finish last term and Holdsworth will be targeting a play-off push this year.
Manager: Mark Robson
Position last season: 22nd
Nickname: The Bees
Players in: Sam Cowler, Jordan Brown and Olly Lee (West Ham, free), Freddie Warren (Charlton, free), Ahmed Abdulla (Dagenham, free), Jon Nurse (Dagenham, free), Jake Hyde (Dundee, free), Jonathan Fortune (Exeter, free)
Players out: Izale McLeod, Dean Brill, Sam Cox, Darren Dennehy, Jordan Parkes, Alassane N'Diaye and Mark Marshall (all released), Sam Deering (Cheltenham, free)
Key man: Ricky Holmes
Chances: Barnet made their now traditional final-day escape from relegation last term but have since lost top scorer McLeod, so another tough campaign beckons in what will be the club's last season at Underhill.
Manager: Phil Parkinson
Position last season: 18th
Nickname: The Bantams
Ground: Coral Windows Stadium/Valley Parade
Players in: Andrew Davies (Stoke, free), Rory McArdle (Aberdeen, released), Gary Jones (Rochdale, free), James Meredith (York, free), Will Atkinson (Hull, free), Garry Thompson (Scunthorpe, free), Stephen Darby (Liverpool, free), Alan Connell (Swindon, free), Nathan Doyle (Barnsley, free)
Players out: Robbie Threlfall (Morecambe, free), Guy Branston (Aldershot, free), Lee Bullock (York, free), Marcel Seip, Rob Kozluk, Luke Dean, Steve Williams, Dean Overson, Andrew Burns, Dominic Rowe and Darren Stephenson (all released)
Key man: Nahki Wells
Chances: Surely poised to launch a serious promotion challenge after big investment in new players during the summer.
Manager: Mark McGhee
Position last season: 13th
Nickname: The Pirates
Ground: Memorial Stadium
Players in: Conor Gough (Charlton, free), Oliver Norburn (Leicester, free), Matthew Lund (Stoke, loan),
Players out: Gary Sawyer (Leyton Orient, free), Craig Stanley (Aldershot, free), Lance Cronin (Macclesfield, free), Byron Anthony, Scott McGleish, Charlie Reece, Charlie Clough, Michael Boateng, Lamar Powell, Darren Jefferies and James Dale (all released), Chris Zebroski (Cheltenham, undisclosed)
Key man: Matt Harrold
Chances: McGhee has experienced promotions with Reading, Millwall and Brighton and after steering Bristol Rovers away from the Football League trap door last season, the vastly-knowledgeable Scot will be looking for another push although a mid-table finish is more likely.
Manager: Gary Rowett
Position last season: 17th
Nickname: The Brewers
Ground: Pirelli Stadium
Players in: Robbie Weir (Tranmere, free), Zander Diamond (Oldham, free), Damien McCrory (Dagenham, free), Marcus Holness (Rochdale, free), Ross Atkins (Derby, loan), Dean Lyness (Kidderminster, free)
Players out: Danny Blanchett (York, free), Tony James (Newport, free), Ryan Austin, Adam Bolder, Greg Pearson, James Wren, Kristian Ramsey-Dickson, Andres Gurrieri and Patrick Ada (all released)
Key man: Calvin Zola
Chances: Rowett has freshened things up during the close season but a mid-table finish would represent success in his first full season in charge.
Manager: Mark Yates
Position last season: 6th
Nickname: The Robins
Ground: Whaddon Road
Players in: Sam Deering (Barnet, free), Chris Zebroski (Bristol Rovers, undisclosed), Shaun Harrad (Bury, season-long loan), Billy Jones (Exeter, free),
Players out: Luke Summerfield (Shrewsbury, free), Josh Low (Bath, free), Theo Lewis and Brian Smikle (released)
Key man: Marlon Pack
Chances: Having lost to Crewe in last season's play-off final at Wembley, Cheltenham will hope to quickly erase those memories and progress automatically this time. In what will be an extremely tough division to get out of, the Robins should be up there once again.
Manager: John Sheridan
Position last season: 22nd in League One
Nickname: The Spireites
Ground: b2net Stadium
Players in: Richard O'Donnell (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Marc Richards (Port Vale, free), Sam Hird (Doncaster, free), Terrell Forbes (Leyton Orient, free), Sam Togwell (Scunthorpe, free), Andrew Byrne (Bradford, free)
Players out: Gregor Robertson (Crewe, free), Jimmy Juan (Chamois Niortais, free), Aaron Downes (Torquay, free), Greg Fleming, Simon Ford, Dan Gray, Jamie Lowry, Alex Mendy, Dean Morgan and Derek Niven (all released)
Key man: Neal Trotman
Chances: Champions the last time they were in the bottom tier two years ago, the Spireites should be eyeing a title tilt once again. Sheridan has made some good signings this summer and the arrival of the prolific Marc Richards could give them the edge over their promotion rivals.
Sky Bet odds: 11/1
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE
Manager: John Still
Position last season: 19th
Nickname: The Daggers
Ground: Victoria Road
Players in: Gavin Hoyte (Arsenal, free)
Players out: Gavin Tomlin (Southend, undisclosed), Damien McCrory (Burton, free), Ahmed Abdulla (Barnet, free), Jon Nurse (Barnet, free), Mark Arber, Peter Gain, Phil Walsh, Jonjo Bates, Lee Wootton and Adam Cunnington (all released)
Key man: Brian Woodall
Chances: Having only added former Arsenal defender Hoyte to their squad, Dagenham will do well to stay in League Two this season, after avoiding a second successive relegation last year.
Woodall scored 11 league goals last season and remains the Daggers' key man.
Sky Bet odds: 50/1
Manager: Paul Tisdale
Position last season: 23rd in League One
Nickname: The Grecians
Ground: St James Park
Players in: Rhys Evans (Staines, free), Kevin Amankwaah (Rochdale, free), Pat Baldwin (Southend, free), Arron Davies (Northampton, released), Craig Woodman (Brentford, free), Jordan Tilson (free agent), Matt Oakley (Leicester, free), Jamie Cureton (Leyton Orient, free)
Players out: Daniel Nardiello (Rotherham, free), James Dunne (Stevenage, free), Troy Archibald-Henville (Swindon, undisclosed), Richard Logan (Wycombe, free), Richard Duffy (Port Vale, free), David Noble (Rotherham, free), Lenny Pidgeley, Richard Logan, Chris Shephard, Callum McNish and Luke O'Brien (all released), Jonathan Fortune (Barnet, free)
Key man: Matt Oakley
Chances: Back in League Two after relegation last season, Exeter will be hoping to bounce back at the first attempt. Manager Tisdale has moved to bring in experienced duo Oakley and Cureton, back for a third spell, this summer and those two will be vital to the cause.
Manager: Micky Mellon
Position last season: 1st in Blue Square Bet Premier
Nickname: The Cod Army
Ground: Highbury Stadium
Players in: Dean Howell (Crawley, free), Alex Titchiner (Witton Albion, undisclosed), Chris Maxwell (Wrexham, free), Damien Johnson (Huddersfield, free), Jon Parkin (Cardiff, free), Steven Gillespie (Colchester, undisclosed), Barry Nicholson (Preston, undisclosed), Conor McLaughlin (Preston, free), David Ball (Peterborough, undisclosed), Youl Mawene (Aberdeen, free), Gerard Kinsella (unattached, free)
Players out: Magno Vieira (Forest Green, free), Jamie Vardy (Leicester, £1million), Peter Cavanagh (Rochdale, free), Danny Rowe (Stockport, six-month loan), Kieran Charnock (Macclesfield, six-month loan), Sean Clancy (Chester, free), Keith Briggs (Kidderminster, free), Dave Stevenson, Gareth Sneddon, Paul Lindwood, Matty Hughes, Matty Flynn, Paul Edwards (all released)
Key man: Jon Parkin
Chances: The ambitious Cod Army are a good bet for a tilt at back-to-back promotions, irrespective of whether Joey Barton joins on loan.
Manager: Martin Allen
Position last season: 8th
Nickname: The Gills
Ground: Priestfield Stadium
Players in: Stuart Nelson (Notts County, free), Charlie Allen (Notts County, free), Ben Strevens (Wycombe, free), Tommy Forecast (Southampton, loan), Tom Flanagan (MK Dons, loan), Deon Burton (Gabala FC, free)
Players out: Garry Richards (Luton, free), Dean Rance (Dover, free), Dennis Oli (Wycombe, free), Jo Kuffour, Matt Lawrence, Danny Spiller and Curtis Weston (all released), Paulo Gazzaniga (Southampton, undisclosed), Simon King (Inverness, free)
Key man: Chris Whelpdale
Chances: Confidence is high at the Priestfield ahead of the new season, with new manager Allen looking to improve on Gillingham's eighth-placed finish last season. Former boss Andy Hessenthaler is now director of football at the club who finished just two points off the play-offs last year.
Manager: Jim Bentley
Position last season: 15th
Nickname: The Shrimps
Ground: Globe Arena
Players in: Robbie Threlfall (Bradford, free), Andrew Wright (Scunthorpe, free), James Short (trainee), Chris Doyle (trainee), Richard Brodie (Crawley, loan)
Players out: Lawrie Wilson (Rotherham, free), Garry Hunter, Niall Cowperthwaite, Sean Breen and Joe Culshaw (all released)
Key man: Kevin Ellison
Chances: Richard Brodie is a welcome addition to ease the goal burden placed on Ellison as the Shrimps prepare for another season in mid-table.
Manager: Aidy Boothroyd
Position last season: 20th
Nickname: The Cobblers
Ground: Sixfields Stadium
Players in: Clive Platt (Coventry, free), Alex Nicholls (Walsall, free), Ishmel Demontagnac (Notts Co, released), Chris Hackett (Millwall, free), Joe Widdowson (Rochdale, free), Lee Nicholls (Wigan, loan), David Artell (Port Vale, free)
Players out: Michael Jacobs (Derby, undisclosed compensation), Lewis Young (Yeovil, free), Andy Holt, Freddy Hall, Nat Wedderburn, Michael Built, Jason Crowe and Ryan Gilligan, Arron Davies (all released)
Key man: Clive Platt
Chances: Boothroyd saved Town from relegation last season but after a busy summer and a big turnaround in players, there is a feeling at Sixfields that a play-off push is not out of the question.
Manager: Chris Wilder
Position last season: 9th
Nickname: The U's
Ground: Kassam Stadium
Players in: Sean Rigg (Port Vale, free), Michael Raynes (Rotherham, free), Sean McGinty (Manchester United, six-month loan)
Players out: Oli Johnson (York, free), Asa Hall (Shrewsbury, free), Paul McLaren, Anthony Tonkin, Mark Wilson and Aaron Woodley (all released)
Key man: James Constable
Chances: Oxford were on course for a play-off berth last season before being pipped to seventh place by Crewe, who ended up securing promotion via the play-offs. Wilder's side will be aiming to go one better this time and expect them to be there or thereabouts.
Manager: Carl Fletcher
Position last season: 21st
Nickname: Argyle, the Pilgrims
Ground: Home Park
Players in: Paris Cowan-Hall (Woking, tribunal fee), Rene Gilmartin (Watford, free), Johnny Gorman (Wolves, loan), Rhys Griffiths (Port Talbot Town, free), Jamie Lowry (Chesterfield, free)
Players out: Luke Daley and Damien Johnson (both released), Romain Larrieu (retired), Simon Walton (Hartlepool, free)
Key man: Darren Purse
Chances: Fletcher performed miracles at Plymouth last season when the club, who were also in financial turmoil, came dangerously close to losing their Football League status. In the end they survived by two points but should be in a stronger position this time.
Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Manager: Micky Adams
Position last season: 12th
Nickname: The Valiants
Ground: Vale Park
Players in: Darren Murphy (Stevenage, free), Jennison Myrie-Williams (Stevenage, free), Ashley Vincent (Colchester, free), Richard Duffy (Exeter, free), Chris Neal (Shrewsbury, free)
Players out: Lee Collins (Barnsley, undisclosed), Anthony Griffith (Leyton Orient, undisclosed), Sean Rigg (Oxford, free), Marc Richards (Chesterfield, free), Chris Martin, Phil Roe and Paul Marshall (all released), David Artell (Northampton, free)
Key man: Tom Pope
Chances: A slump into administration ended Vale's play-off ambitions last term and, although ownership issues have not been fully resolved, a brighter off-field picture means Adams should be free to craft an unhindered assault on the top seven once again.
Sky Bet odds: 20/1
Manager: John Coleman
Position last season: 24th in League One
Players in: George Donnelly (Macclesfield, undisclosed), Peter Cavanagh (Fleetwood, free), Rhys Bennett (Bolton, free), Josh Lillis (Scunthorpe, free), Ryan Edwards (Blackburn, six-month youth loan), Kevin McIntyre (Accrington, free), Joe Rafferty (Liverpool, free), Phil Edwards (free agent), Dele Adebola (free agent)
Players out: Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (Tranmere, free), Nicky Adams (Crawley, undisclosed), Gary Jones (Bradford, free), Kevin Amankwaah (Exeter, free), David Lucas (Birmingham, free), Dean Holden (Walsall, free), Stephen Jordan, Joe Widdowson and Marc Twaddle (all released), Joe Thompson (Tranmere, undisclosed)
Key man: Josh Lillis
Chances: Dale are back in the bottom tier after two seasons in League Two and an immediate return would appear to be a tall order.
Sky Bet odds: 28/1
Manager: Steve Evans
Position last season: 10th
Nickname: The Millers
Ground: New York Stadium
Players in: Daniel Nardiello (Exeter, free), Kayode Odejayi (Colchester, free), Ian Sharps (Shrewsbury, free), Nicky Hunt (Bristol City, free), Kari Arnason (Aberdeen, free), Scott Shearer (Crawley, free), Michael O'Connor (Scunthorpe, free), Lionel Ainsworth (free), Lawrie Wilson (Morecambe, free), David Noble (Exeter, free), Kieran Agard (Yeovil, free).
Players out: Marcus Marshall (Bury, free), Danny Harrison (Tranmere, free), Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth, undisclosed), Ryan Cresswell (Southend, undisclosed), Michael Raynes (Oxford, free) Richard Naylor, Ollie Banks, Luke Foster, Tom Newey, Jamie Annerson, Troy Brown (all released), Paul Warne (retired)
Key man: Michael O'Connor
Chances: Serious automatic promotion contenders and the team to beat in their first season in their New York Stadium.
Sky Bet odds: 100/30
Manager: Paul Sturrock
Position last season: 4th
Nickname: The Shrimpers
Ground: Roots Hall
Players in: Kevan Hurst (Walsall, free), Gavin Tomlin (Dagenham, undisclosed), Anthony Straker (Aldershot, tribunal fee), Ryan Cresswell (Rotherham, undisclosed), Freddy Eastwood (Coventry, free)
Players out: Anthony Grant (Stevenage, free), Pat Baldwin (Exeter, free), Jean-Paul Kalala (released), Christian Dailly (retired)
Key man: Bilel Mohsni
Chances: Southend are among a group of clubs chasing promotion this season after ending last year just one point away from automatic promotion. The Shrimpers were edged out of the play-off semi-final by eventual winners Crewe. Manager Sturrock will be hoping to avoid the end-of-season lottery this time around.
Manager: Martin Ling
Position last season: 5th
Nickname: The Gulls
Players in: Ryan Jarvis (Walsall, free), Craig Easton (free agent), Michael Poke (Brighton, free), Tom Cruise (Arsenal, free), Billy Bodin (Swindon, undisclosed), Aaron Downes (Chesterfield, free)
Players out: Lathaniel Rowe-Turner (Luton, free), Mark Ellis (Crewe, undisclosed), Eunan O'Kane (Bournemouth, undisclosed)
Key man: Billy Bodin
Chances: Torquay are expected to be in the promotion shake-up once again having lost out to Cheltenham in last season's play-off semi-finals. Ling won promotion with Leyton Orient in 2006 and would dearly love to avenge last season's disappointment.
Manager: Gary Waddock
Position last season: 21st in League One
Nickname: The Chairboys
Ground: Adams Park
Players in: Gary Doherty (Charlton, free), Matt Spring (Leyton Orient, free), Sam Wood (Brentford, free), Dennis Oli (Gillingham, free), Lee Angol (Tottenham, free), Richard Logan (Exeter, free),
Players out: Steve Arnold (Stevenage, free), Scott Rendell (Luton, undisclosed), Ben Strevens, Anthony McNamee, John Halls, James Tunnicliffe and (all released), Ben Strevens (Gillingham, free), Jason Mooney (Tranmere, free)
Key man: Nikki Bull
Chances: Wycombe are another side bidding to bounce back to League One at the first attempt after relegation last season. Waddock knows what it takes to get out of this division having secured promotion in 2010-11 in the former QPR defender's first full season at Adams Park.
Manager: Gary Mills
Position last season: 4th in Blue Square Bet Premier
Nickname: The Minstermen
Ground: Bootham Crescent
Players in: Lee Bullock (Bradford, free), Oli Johnson (Oxford, free), John McReady (Darlington, free), Michael Coulson (Grimsby, free), Danny Blanchett (Burton, free), Jonathan Smith (Swindon, undisclosed)
Players out: James Meredith (Bradford, free)
Key man: Matty Blair
Chances: Consolidation will be the key for York as they mark their return to the Football League after an eight-year absence. May not be able to keep up with Fleetwood but should have enough to preserve their status.