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Peter's picks

Peter looks at the runners and rider in Leagues One and Two...

Peter Beagrie - Peter Beagrie Posted 15th August 2012 view comments

Football is not just about the big boys.

The League One and Two campaigns get underway this weekend and the divisions should provide plenty of thrills and spills over the next 10 months.

Sky Sports' Football League expert Peter Beagrie has been watching closely as the second and third tier clubs have tweaked their squads over the summer break.

Maguire: Sheffield United youngster will be one to watch in the third tier

Maguire: Sheffield United youngster will be one to watch in the third tier

So read below as he picks some of the sides to look out for during the 2012-13 season...

LEAGUE ONE

Sheffield United are the favourites to get promoted from League One.

I felt sorry for Danny Wilson last year because his three first-choice strikers - Richard Cresswell, James Beattie and Ched Evans - were out for the run-in and I think that sapped them a little bit in their battle with Sheffield Wednesday for the second automatic promotion spot.

The Blades have drafted in striker John Cofie on loan from Manchester United, who is big, strong, quick and athletic and can certainly make a difference for them.

Meanwhile at the back, young Harry Maguire can help the Blades cope with the retirement of big Chris Morgan; he is not the silkiest of players but he gets his head on things.

I think Doncaster will do okay because they have made some good signings; Paul Quinn, Robbie Blake, and David Cotterill have done it a higher level, while Dave Syers has arrived from Bradford and he is a very good player.

I think Rovers may be a better bet than fellow relegated club Coventry, who have lost a lot of their better players, including Richard Keogh who has gone to Derby and Gaël Bigirimana who has joined Newcastle.

Bournemouth have caught the eye with the amount of money they have spent, Karl Robinson always does a good job with MK Dons and they will be up there again, while Swindon boss Paolo di Canio has been backed with a few pennies, plucked some obscure signings and could lead his side to a good season.

When Graham Westley took charge of Preston last term he didn't seem to have the same effect as he did when he was bringing Stevenage through the lower divisions, but he has radically overhauled his playing staff this summer, bringing in twenty-odd players.

He has signed guys he knows from Stevenage in Joel Byrom, Chris Beardsley and Scott Laird, players who will adhere to his style. This is a massive season for Preston and Westley, and if Lee Trundle can get fit and produce the magic we know he possesses, he could push North End towards the promotion places.

LEAGUE TWO

Rotherham have suffered over the years from being favourites for promotion and I know it's a tag that new boss Steve Evans doesn't want due to the pressure it will bring.

The Millers do look incredibly strong, though; Michael Raynes and Lewis Grabban have departed but they have brought in a few players who know the area having played for Barnsley - Daniel Nardiello and Kayode Odejayi - and former star Ian Sharps, who returns to the club on the back of a promotion with Shrewsbury.

Michael O'Connor has joined from Scunthorpe, a man who could have been playing in the Championship were it not for injuries at unfortunate times, while Rotherham will also benefit from playing at the New York Stadium rather than the Don Valley.

Chesterfield will be looking to bounce back after relegation from League One and they have strengthened with Marc Richards, who banged in the goals for Port Vale, Sam Hird from Doncaster and Sam Togwell, a combative midfielder from Scunthorpe.

There is no reason why Fleetwood can't get back-to-back promotions; they are a forward-thinking club with an amazing infrastructure who were absolutely brilliant last season in the Blue Square Premier.

The Cod Army have gone for experience in the transfer market with big Jon Parkin up front, Steven Gillespie, Barry Nicholson, who should be outstanding at this level, and centre-half Youl Mawene, who was excellent during his Preston days.

Cheltenham and Torquay just missed out on promotion last year and they will be right up there again, while I've got to give a mention to York, who have snapped up some players who did not get much playing time at bigger clubs.

Over the last five years Bradford have had one of the largest budgets in League Two but it just hasn't happened for them because of a consistent overhaul of the squad and regularly changing managers. However, I think this could be the season for them to at least make the play-offs and not scratch around in the lower echelons.

Garry Thompson from Scunthorpe and Alan Connell from Swindon should get goals, something the Bantams have not done in recent years, while the vastly experienced Gary Jones, a signing from Rochdale, will stand up in the tough moments.

Bradford have good characters and strong footballers. Promotion should be the aim.

That's Peter's view but who do YOU expect to leave their imprint on the League One and Two campaigns? Let us know using the feedback form below...

Over the course of the campaign, Beags will be answering YOUR Football League questions in his weekly column. So whoever you support, make sure you send in your posers via the feedback form for Peter to sink his teeth into.

Comments (1)

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Dean Carwin (Preston North End fan) says...

preston and sheffield united, should hopefully get automatic places, as for the playoffs, swindon, bournemouth, mk dons and doncaster

Posted 12:42 17th August 2012

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