League Two preview
A club-by-club look at the npower League Two campaign
Last Updated: 04/08/11 4:59pm
Having broken all manner of records on their way to the Conference title last season, Crawley are well placed to continue their rise up the ladder in their debut season in the Football League.
It is also a division that will have some added Italian flair as rookie Paolo Di Canio begins his managerial career with relegated Swindon.
Shrewsbury have been perennial promotion challengers in recent seasons but have always fallen at the final hurdle.
Manager Graham Turner will be aiming to rectify that during this campaign and he has assembled a squad that looks more than capable of securing a top-three finish, with the exciting summer signings of Reuben Hazell and Marvin Morgan adding to an already strong squad.
Oxford enjoyed a safe return to the Football League last season and after a busy summer they will be considered among the favourites to secure at least a play-off position.
Michael Duberry, Tony Capaldi and Peter Leven head the list of new recruits and in Chris Wilder they have a young manager whose stock continues to grow.
All fans of football will be pleased to see AFC Wimbledon make their bow in the Football League.
PREDICTED TOP 6
4: Bristol Rovers
Manager: John Coleman
Position last season: 5th
Ground: The Fraser Eagle Stadium Capacity: 5,057
Players in: Danny Coid (Blackpool, free), Kevin McIntyre (Shrewsbury, free), Kurtis Guthrie (unattached), Sean Murdoch (unattached), Kern Miller (Barnsley, loan until January)
Players out: Andy Parkinson, Rory Boulding, Chris Turner, Zak Riley, Andy Owens, Tom Smyth (all released), Jimmy Ryan (Scunthorpe, undisclosed), Alex Cisak (Oldham, undisclosed), Jonny Bateson (Macclesfield, free), Sean McConville (Stockport, free), Joe Jacobson (Shrewsbury, free), Phil Edwards (Stevenage, free)
Key man: Andy Procter
Chances:John Coleman has performed small miracles at the Crown Ground and last season guided them into the play-offs. After a raft of departures, similar success could prove hard to come by this term.
Prediction: 14th Sky Bet odds: 40/1
Manager: Terry Brown
Position last season: 2nd in Conference (promoted via play-offs)
Ground: Kingsmeadow Capacity: 4,722
Players in: Max Porter (Rushden & Diamonds, free), Jack Midson (Oxford, free), Charles Ademeno (Grimsby, free), Chris Bush (Brentford, free), Mat Mitchel-King (Crewe, free), Gareth Gwillim (Dagenham, free)
Players out: Ismail Yakubu, Ed Harris, Jon Main, Mark Mwokeji, Delano Sam-Yorke (all released), Danny Kedwell (Gillingham, undisclosed), Kaid Mohamed (Cheltenham, free) Steven Gregory (Bournemouth, undisclosed)
Key man: Jamie Stuart
Chances: Kedwell and Gregory are big losses but Terry Brown's new Crazy Gang should have enough about them to survive their first season back in the Football League.
Prediction: 19th Sky Bet odds: 33/1
Manager: Dean Holdsworth
Position last season: 14th
Ground: Recreation Ground Capacity: 7,100
Players in: Michael Rankine (York, free), Aaron Brown (Leyton Orient, free), Jamie Collins (Newport, free), Ross Worner (Charlton, free), Bradley Bubb (Farnborough, undisclosed), Anthony Pulis (unattached), Graeme Montgomery (unattached), Jake Taylor (Reading, month long loan)
Players out: Marvin Morgan, Tim Sills, Wade Small, Jack Randall, Clayton Fortune, Mikhael Jaimez Ruiz, Anthony Charles (all released), Ben Harding (Wycombe, free), John Halls (Wycombe, free), Max Worsfold and Jordan Clement (both Maidenhead, free), Reece Connolly, Doug Bergqvist (both Farnborough six month loan)
Key man: Michael Rankine
Chances: Holdsworth embarks on his first full season in charge of a Football League team and he will see no reason why his Aldershot side cannot make a case for promotion. Much will depend on the form of striker Rankine, who will be expected to fill the boots of Marvin Morgan.
Prediction: 13th Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Manager: Lawrie Sanchez
Position last season: 22nd
Ground: Underhill Capacity: 6,200
Players in: Sam Deering (Oxford, free), Mark Byrne (Nottingham Forest, free), Danny Senda (unattached), Dean Brill (unnatached), Danny Senda (unattached)
Players out: Glen Southam, Jake Cole, Rossi Jarvis, Charlie Stimson, Danny Kelly, Reece Yorke (all released), Joe Devera (Swindon, free)
Key man: Izale McLeod
Chances: The perennial relegation battlers look set for another long season, although if the strike duo of McLeod and Steve Kabba find their scoring boots they should be okay.
Prediction: 18th Sky Bet odds: 50/1
Manager: Peter Jackson
Position last season: 19th
Ground: Coral Windows Stadium Capacity: 25,136
Players in: Ross Hannah (Matlock, free), Guy Branston (Torquay, free), Chris Mitchell (Falkirk, free), Mark Stewart (Falkirk, free), Scott Brown (Clyde, free), Patrick Lacey (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Nialle Rodney (Nottingham Forest, free), Ritchie Jones (Oldham, free), Andrew Burns (Bolton, free), Jack Compton (Falkirk, six month loan), Martin Hanson (Liverpool, one month loan)
Players out: Omar Daley, Gareth Evans, Jon Worthington, Shane Duff, Lenny Pidgeley, Chib Chilaka, Lloyd Saxton, Ryan Harrison, Louis Horne, Chris Elliott (all released), Jake Speight (Wrexham, undisclosed)
Key man: Guy Branston
Chances: Manager Peter Jackson has had a clear-out at Valley Parade this summer, with 11 players leaving the club and nine new ones arriving. Jackson signed a one-year deal with his hometown club in May and intends to restore some pride by launching a play-off challenge after successive seasons at the wrong end of the table.Prediction: 12th Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Manager: Paul Buckle
Position last season: 22nd in League One
Ground: Memorial Stadium Capacity: 12,011
Players in: Matt Gill (Norwich, free), Scott Bevan (Torquay, free), Craig Stanley (Morecambe, undisclosed), Matt Harrold (Shrewsbury, undisclosed), Lee Brown (QPR, free), Mustapha Carayol (Lincoln, undisclosed), Scott McGleish (Leyton Orient, free), Chris Zebroski (Torquay, undisclosed), Joe Anyinsah (Charlton, free), Lance Cronin (Gillingham, free), Michael Smith (Ballymena United, undisclosed), Cian Bolger (Leicester, six-month loan), Michael Boateng (Carshalton Athletic, free)
Players out: Jeff Hughes, Mike Green, Darryl Duffy, Carl Regan, Danny Senda, Gavin Williams, JP Kalala, Jerel Ifil, Ashley Bowle, Sam Butler, Jack Camm, Alex Hoyle, Robbi Maggs, Lewis Parker, Tyrone Rhoden, Tom Seery, Jordan Tillson, Dominic Blizzard (all released), Will Hoskins (Brighton, undisclosed), Danny Coles (Exeter, free), Harry Pell (Hereford, free)
Key man: Chris Zebroski
Chances: After a nightmare campaign last season, Bristol Rovers will be hoping that this is just a one-year stop in League Two. A huge squad overhaul has been performed by new boss Paul Buckle and if he can get his new players to gel quickly, then they should be automatic promotion candidates.
Prediction: 4th Sky Bet odds: 9/1
Manager: Paul Peschisolido
Position last season: 20th
Ground: Pirelli Stadium Capacity: 6,912
Players in: Cleveland Taylor (St Johnstone, free), Chris Palmer (Gillingham, free), Adi Yussuf (unattached), Danny Blanchett (unattached), Tom Parkes (Leicester, six month loan), Justin Richards (Port Vale, undisclosed)
Players out: Adam Legzdins (Derby, undisclosed), Lewis Young (Northampton, free), Richard Walker, Richard Jackson, Keith Gilroy, Garyn Preen (all released), Russell Penn (Cheltenham, free)
Key man: Greg Pearson
Chances: Albion survived a season of struggle last time, although they were not helped by a back-log of fixtures following postponements during winter. Player of the year Adam Legzdins will be missed and goals could be a problem.
Prediction: 17th Sky Bet odds: 50/1
Manager: Mark Yates
Position last season: 17th
Ground: Abbey Business Stadium (Whaddon Road Capacity: 7,066
Players in: Marlon Pack (Portsmouth, free), Russell Penn (Burton, free), Alan Bennett (Wycombe, free), Kaid Mohamed (AFC Wimbledon, free), Sido Jombati (Bath City, undisclosed), Darryl Duffy (Bristol Rovers, free), Bagasan Graham (unattached), Harry Hooman (unattached), Luke Summerfield (unattached), Sido Jombati (Bath City, nominal fee)
Players out: JJ Melligan, Frankie Artus, Martin Riley, Daniel Lloyd-Weston, Jake Lee (all released), Wes Thomas (Crawley, free), Kyle Haynes (Salisbury, three month loan)
Key man: Russell Penn
Chances: Yates has recruited wisely and has formed a squad that should improve on last season's lower mid-table finish. Whether they can make a charge on the top seven depends largely on their form away from home.
Prediction: 15th Sky Bet odds: 66/1
Evans: Crawley Town are the title favourites in League Two
Manager: Steve Evans
Position last season: 1st in Conference
Ground: Broadfield Stadium Capacity: 4,996
Players in: Wes Thomas (Cheltenham, free), Scott Davies (Reading, free), John Akinde (Bristol City, undisclosed), Jamie Day (Rushden & Diamonds, undisclosed), Hope Akpan (Everton, free), Tyrone Barnett (Macclesfield, undisclosed)
Players out: Nick Jordan, Danny Hall, Sam Rents, Jamie Cook, Craig McAllister, Steve Masterton, Tommy Brewer, Simon Rusk (all released), James Dance (Luton, undisclosed)
Key man: John Akinde
Chances: It seems the only thing that can stop League Two's big spenders is the pressure of being expected to tear through the division at the first attempt.
Prediction: 1st Sky Bet odds: 5/2
Manager: Dario Gradi
Position last season: 10th
Ground: The Alexandra Stadium Capacity: 10,046
Players in: Alan Martin (unattached)
Players out: Calvin Zola, Patrick Ada, Mat Mitchel-King, Danny Blanchett, Lewis Short, Ashley Westwood, Bartek Fogler (all released), Joel Grant (Wycombe, free), Clayton Donaldson (Brentford, free)
Key man: Steve Phillips
Chances: Dario Gradi continues to ensure Crewe punch above their weight but a host of summer departures could hinder their hopes of building on last season's 10th-placed finish.
Prediction: 11th Sky Bet odds: 25/1
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE
Manager: John Still
Position last season: 21st in League One
Ground: London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium (Victoria Road) Capacity: 6,078
Players in: Medy Elito (Colchester, free), Sam Williams (Yeovil, free), Richard Rose (Hereford, free), Luke Howell (Lincoln, free), Kevin Maher (Gillingham, free), Sam Williams (unattached), Jake Reed (Great Yarmouth, free), Rob Edmans (Chelmsford City, £6,000)
Players out: Bas Savage, Phil Ifil, Graeme Montgomery, Tommy Tejan-Sie (all released), Danny Green (Charlton, undisclosed), Charlie Allen (Notts County, free), Gareth Gwillim (AFC Wimbledon, free), Romain Vincelot (Brighton, undisclosed)
Key man: Jon Nurse
Chances: Having been relegated from League One last term, another season of struggle could be on the cards for the Daggers having lost the services of key performers Danny Green and Romain Vincelot.
Prediction: 20th Sky Bet odds: 33/1
Manager: Andy Hessenthaler
Position last season: 8th
Ground: Priestfield Stadium Capacity: 11,582
Players in: Chris Whelpdale (Peterborough, free), Ross Flitney (Dover, free), Matt Fish (Dover, free), Charlie Lee (Peterborough, free), Danny Kedwell (AFC Wimbledon, undisclosed), Andy Frampton (Millwall, free), Lewis Montrose (Wycombe, free), Adam Birchall (Dover, undisclosed), Paolo Gazzaniga (unattached)
Players out: Adebayo Akinfenwa (Northampton, free), Chris Palmer (Burton, free), Alan Julian (Stevenage, free), Andy Barcham (Scunthorpe, free), Lance Cronin, Mark Bentley, Josh Gowling, John Nutter, Tony Sinclair, Andy White, Mark McCammon (all released)
Key man: Danny Kedwell
Chances: The loss of last season's three top scorers - Adebayo Akinfenwa, Andy Barcham and Cody McDonald, who returned to Norwich on a season-long loan spell, as well as goalkeeper Alan Julian and assistant manager Ian Hendon makes 2011-12 difficult to predict for Gills, but Hessenthaler has acted shrewdly in the summer transfer market.
Prediction: 5th Sky Bet odds: 16/1
Manager: Jamie Pitman
Position last season: 21st
Ground: Edgar Street Capacity: 5,075
Players in: Joe Heath (Exeter, free), Delroy Facey (Lincoln, free), Stefan Stam (Yeovil, free), Harry Pell (Bristol Rovers, free), Yoann Arquin (unattached)
Players out: Richard Rose, Sam Gwynne, Ryan Valentine, Daniel Stratford, Sam Malsom, Adrian Patulea, Aidan Thomas (all released)
Key man: Stuart Fleetwood
Chances: Following a dreadful start under Simon Davey last term young manager Jamie Pitman reversed Hereford's fortunes and guided the club to safety, but another season of struggle looms in 2011-12.
Prediction: 24th Sky Bet odds: 66/1
Manager: Gary Simpson
Position last season: 15th
Ground: The Moss Rose Capacity: 6,355
Players in: Scott Kay (Manchester City, free), Jonny Bateson (Accrington, free), Ben Tomlinson (Worksop, undisclosed), Arnaud Mendy (Derby, free), Tom Fisher (Stockport, free), Waide Fairhurst (Doncaster, undisclosed)
Players out: Paul Bolland (Mansfield, free), Izak Reid (Morecambe, undisclosed), Hamza Bencherif (Notts County, free), Tyrone Barnett (Crawley, undisclosed), Matt Lowe, Ricky Sappleton, Jason Beardsley (all released)
Key man: Arnaud Mendy
Chances: The Silkmen have endured more than their fair share of adversity in recent times but Gary Simpson steered his men to 15th last term. Further progress could be tough to attain.
Prediction: 22nd Sky Bet odds: 66/1
Manager: Jim Bentley
Position last season: 21st
Ground: Globe Arena Capacity: 6,476
Players in: Kevin Ellison (Rotherham, free), Izak Reid (Macclesfield, undisclosed), Gary McDonald (Hamilton, free), Lewis Alessandra (Oldham, free), Danny Carlton (Bury, free), Nick Fenton (unattached)
Players out: Craig Stanley (Bristol Rovers, undisclosed), Adam Rundle (Darlington, free), Scott Brown, Tony Capaldi, Gavin Clarke, Stuart Hendrie, Andy Holdsworth, Chris Shuker, Laurie Walker, Neil Wainwright, Chris Wraighte (all released), Paul Mullin (retired)
Key man: Kevin Ellison
Chances: Morecambe went backwards last season and boss Sammy McIlroy parted company with the club, leaving Jim Bentley with a tough job on his hands this term.
Prediction: 23rd Sky Bet odds: 66/1
Johnson: The Cobblers have an astute head at the helm
Manager: Gary Johnson
Position last season: 17th
Ground: Sixfields Stadium Capacity: 7,653
Players in: Byron Webster (Doncaster, free), Adebayo Akinfenwa (Gillingham, free), Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi (Peterborough, free), Jake Robinson (free), Ben Tozer (Newcastle, free), Lewis Young (Burton, free), Nick McKoy (Kettering, free), Freddy Hall (Bermuda Hogges, free), Sam Walker (Chelsea, loan), Nicky Corker (free), Bas Savage (unattached), Lumbard Salihu (unattached), Marin Pozgain (unattached)
Players out: Leon McKenzie, Paul Rodgers, Marcus Hall, Abdul Osman, Francis Laurent, Courtney Herbert, Alex Konstantinou, Dean Beckwith, Seb Harris, Liam Davis (all released), Guillem Bauza (Exeter, free), Chris Dunn (Coventry, undisclosed), Billy McKay (Inverness)
Key man: Michael Jacobs
Chances: A busy summer at Sixfields could turn Town from strugglers to promotion contenders. Much will depend on how quickly they gel but in Gary Johnson's first full season at the helm they could be an outside play-off bet.
Prediction: 8th Sky Bet odds: 18/1
Manager: Chris Wilder
Position last season: 12th
Ground: Kassam Stadium Capacity: 12,500
Players in: Tony Capaldi (Morecambe, free), Ryan James (Grays, free), Jon-Paul Pittman (Wycombe, free), Andrew Whing (Leyton Orient, free), Deane Smalley (Oldham, undisclosed), Michael Duberry (St Johnstone, free), Peter Leven (Mk Dons, free), Liam Davis (unattached)
Players out: Djoumin Sangare, Mitchell Hanson (both released), Jack Midson (AFC Wimbledon, free), Simon Eastwood (Halifax, free), Matt Green (Mansfield, loan until December)
Key man: Tom Craddock
Chances: Oxford will be one of the strongest sides in the division this year after a very good summer of recruitment by Wilder, with a host of players coming in from higher divisions. There is no reason why they should not be considered automatic promotion contenders.
Prediction: 3rd Sky Bet odds: 11/1
Manager: Peter Reid
Position last season: 23rd in League One
Ground: Home Park Capacity: 19,500
Players in: Robbie Williams (Rochdale, free), Durrell Berry (Aston Villa, free), Liam Dickinson (Barnsley, free), Jake Cole (Barnet, free), Luke Daley (Norwich, free), Ben Gibson (Middlesborough, three month loan)
Players out: Yannick Bolasie (Bristol City, undisclosed), Karl Duguid (Colchester, free), Chris Clark, Anton Peterlin, Krisztian Timar, Luke Summerfield, Jim Paterson, Marcel Seip, Steve Maclean, Bondz N'Gala (all released), Kari Arnason (released), Joe Mason (Cardiff, undisclosed), Rory Patterson (Linfield, season loan), Liam Dickinson (released), Damien Johnson (Huddersfield, season loan), Rory Fallon (Yeovil, free)
Key man: Simon Walton
Chances: Plymouth return to the bottom tier in turmoil, as they remain in administration without a buyer and have seen more players leave than arrive over the summer. Given their plight, manager Peter Reid must view anything other than relegation as a successful season.
Prediction: 21st Sky Bet odds: 20/1
Manager: Micky Adams
Position last season: 11th
Ground: Vale Park Capacity: 18,947
Players in: Kingsley James (Sheffield United, free), Phil Roe (Sheffield United, free), Clayton McDonald (Walsall, free), Mike Green (AFC Totton, free), Ben Williamson (Bournemouth, free), Ryan Burge (Doncaster, free), Tom Pope (Rotheram, free)
Players out: Kris Taylor (Darlington, free), Matthew Bell (Mansfield, free), Ritchie Sutton (Mansfield, free), Justin Richards (Burton Albion, undisclosed)
Key man: Marc Richards
Chances: Micky Adams' return as manager towards the end of last season lifted the club. When he left for boyhood club Sheffield United in December 2010, Vale were flying and promotion contenders. Expect them to be up there again.
Prediction: 7th Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Manager: Andy Scott
Position last season: 9th
Ground: Don Valley Stadium Capacity: 25,000
Players in: Ben Pringle (Derby, free), Gareth Evans (Bradford, free), Luke Foster (Stevenage, free), Chris Holroyd (Brighton, free), Troy Brown (Ipswich, free), Lewis Grabban (Brentford, free), Danny Schofield (Millwall, free), Conrad Logan (Leicester, six-month loan)
Players out: Ian Thomas-Moore, Nick Fenton, Grant Darley, Stephen Brogan, Jamie Green, Luke Ashworth (all released), Kevin Ellison (Morecambe, free), Ryan Taylor (Bristol City, undisclosed), Nicky Law (Motherwell, free), Tom Pope (Port Vale, free)
Key man: Chris Holroyd
Chances: With prolific striker Adam Le Fondre unlikely to see out the season at Don Valley, the Millers will be looking to Chris Holroyd to fill his boots. Manager Andy Scott has had a squad overhaul, but his new side will be expected to gel quickly and produce a promotion push.
Prediction: 6th Sky Bet odds: 18/1
Manager: Graham Turner
Position last season: 4th
Ground: The Greenhous Meadow Capacity: 9,875
Players in: Joe Jacobson (Accrington, free), Reuben Hazell (Oldham, free), Marvin Morgan (Aldershot, free), Matt Richards (unattached)
Players out: Dave Raven (released), Kevin McIntyre (Accrington, free), Craig Disley, Danny Taylor, Nathan Elder, Harry Hooman (all released), Jake Robinson (Northampton, free), Matt Harrold (Bristol Rovers, undisclosed)
Key man: Jon Taylor
Chances: Shrewsbury disappointingly limped out of the play-offs having finished one point behind automatic promotion last season, and despite a mediocre summer in the transfer market, expect them to once again be in contention this time around.
Prediction: 2nd Sky Bet odds: 12/1
Manager: Paul Sturrock
Position last season: 13th
Ground: Roots Hall Capacity: 12,392
Players in: Neil Harris (Millwall, free), Jemal Johnson (Lokomotiv Sofia, free), Alassane N'Diaye (Crystal Palace, season loan), Ryan Leonard (unattached), Liam Dickinson (unattached), Jean-Paul Kalala (unattached)
Players out: Rhys Evans, Miguel Comminges, Adam Bouzid, Johnny Herd, Louie Soares (all released)
Key man: Neil Harris
Chances: Southend drifted out of play-off contention to eventually finish 13th last season in Paul Sturrock's first campaign in charge, but Neil Harris should score plenty of goals at this level and could prove the difference this time around.
Prediction: 10th Sky Bet odds: 16/1
Di Canio: Great player, will he do it as a manager?
Manager: Paolo Di Canio
Position last season: 24th in League One
Ground: The County Ground Capacity: 15,728
Players in: Joe Devera (Barnet, free), Jonathan Smith (York, undisclosed), Oliver Risser (KuPS, free), Raffaele De Vita (Livingston, free), Alberto Comazzi (Spezia, free), Mattia Lanzano (USD Gavorrana 1930, free), Alan Connell (Grimsby, undisclosed), Mehdi Kerrouche (Al-Oruba, free), Alessandro Cibocchi (Portosummaga, free), Alan McCormack (Charlton, undisclosed)
Players out: Michael Rose (Colchester, free), David Prutton (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Scott Cuthbert (Leyton Orient, free), Alan Sheehan (Notts County, free), Jonathan Douglas (Brentford, free), Elliot Benyon (Wycombe, season loan), Lucas Dale (Rochdale, free)
Key man: Oliver Risser
Chances: Swindon may have finished bottom of League One last season but with Paolo Di Canio now in charge and a raft of new faces, optimism is high at the County Ground and a promotion charge is likely to be on the cards.
Prediction: 9th Sky Bet odds: 9/1
Manager: Martin Ling
Position last season: 7th
Ground: Plainmoor Capacity: 6,104
Players in: Joe Oastler (QPR, free), Brian Saah (Cambridge, undisclosed), Robert Olejnik (Falkirk, undisclosed), Daniel Leadbitter (Newcastle, free), Chris McPhee (Kidderminster, free), Martin Rice (Truro, free), Ian Morris (Scunthorpe, free), Taiwo Atieno (unattached), Taiwo Atieno (unattached), Rene Howe (Peterborough, free)
Players out: Danny Potter (Newport, free), Scott Bevan (Bristol Rovers, free), Guy Branston (Bradford, free), Chris Zebroski (Bristol Rovers, undisclosed)
Key man: Eunan O'Kane
Chances: Torquay's play-off final defeat last season saw them lose manager Paul Buckle and several key players so it will be a big ask of Martin Ling to repeat last season's fine achievements. That said, they will be difficult to beat at home so a mid-table finish looks likely.
Prediction: 16th Sky Bet odds: 25/1