Who will win League 2?

Promotion from League 2 can be difficult as it is one of the more unpredictable leagues and the fact that a lot of teams that are promoted from the Blue Square Premier do really well makes it even more difficult but there are three spots automatically.

The teams that are relegated into League 2 are sometimes inconsistent too and can sometimes become a mid table team and not really make an impact. Experience is vital in this division and the way to win it is by signing players that know what it takes to win matches the hard way.

Rotherham United under former Crawley manager Steve Evans will be the favourites because of the persona of the manager who will do everything for his team to secure the title and obviously knows how to build a squad with his former club getting promoted. They have made some good signings in Ian Sharps who has returned to club and Daniel Nardiello who has at times in his career looked like the player that was good enough to play for Manchester United’s youth team.

Fleetwood Town will be looking to follow in Crawley Town’s footprints by getting two promotions in a row and even though they may be one of the favourites their team may be happy with just challenging for a place in the playoffs seen as though it is their first year in League 2. They have also lots Jamie Vardy who was prolific so they definitely need to find goals from elsewhere.

Chesterfield Town have been relegated back to League 2 and they will be hoping to return to League 1 at the first time of asking but they know this won’t be easy and they will be hoping that young striker Jordan Bowery continues his development and adds to his impressive 12 goals last season. Also they have two very good goalkeepers in Tommy Lee and Richard O’Donnell so if their defence remains tight I think they will get the most clean sheets.

Bristol Rovers didn’t quite perform as well as they would have hoped last season but this year they will be looking to push on and win the league. The loss of Carayol could be massive as he provided a lot to their team and was a constant threat to the opposition but manager Mark McGhee probably made the right decision to let him leave. Matt Harrold, Eliot Richards and Joe Anyinsah will need to play to at least the same level as last year especially Harrold who got 18 goals.

Oxford United should also be considered to be in the mix as they have a very hardworking team and they all seem to want to play for each other which is a very big thing in this division. They may not have that many standout players but they are a good team that have ability and with James Constable and Tom Craddock upfront I expect them to take a lot of their chances this season.

I think it is hard to look past Rotherham United but who knows maybe they won’t quite gel under Steve Evans and not agree with his methods, I can’t see this being the case but if it is then Chesterfield are the team to watch for me.

 

Who will be relegated from League 2?

Being relegated from League 2 could possibly be the worst relegation in England as it means you are no longer a Football League club and teams often struggle to return at the first time of asking.

In recent years, Luton Town, Darlington (this could have been more because of financial problems that affected them for years) and Stockport County have been some of the bigger names to be unable to win promotion from the Blue Square Premier. I am going to look at the five teams that could be likely to battle against relegation even though I could be way off with the league being very unpredictable.

Barnet are the first team I believe will struggle simply because they have been unable to improve for years now and keep on avoiding relegation on the last day, eventually this is going to catch up on them and they will fail and this could be the year. With the loss of 22 goal Izale McLeod they need a replacement and have brought in Jon Nurse but he only got eight goals last season so he will need to improve if they are to stay up.

Burton Albion fresh off their penalty victory over Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup will need to start off their season just as quickly if they are to comfortably mid table. They definitely have goals in their team with Calvin Zola, Billy Kee and Justin Richards so they shouldn’t struggle in this department if they manage to keep them for the whole season but the defence looks a little light and a few injuries may completely derail their season.

Morecambe, another team that caused a shock in the cup will be hoping this is what is to come from their season however I don’t think this will be the case and they could be dragged towards the bottom of the table. The key person for me could be manager Jim Bentley as he clearly loves the club but his managerial inexperience could work against him but at least the fans know that he will be putting his all in.

Accrington Stanley lack a goal scorer in their squad and last season their star striker was Padraig Amond who only got eight goals and they will certainly need to improve here which is why they have brought in Karl Sheppard who does have a good record so far in his career and looks like he could be a vital addition.

Dagenham and Redbridge struggled last season but a good run of form towards the end of the season saw them safely avoid the drop but they may need a little more in the coming season. The loss of Jon Nurse to rivals Barnet could be key as his goals may just make the difference between the two sides. Brian Woodall had a decent year and will be hoping to build on that and manager John Still knows what it takes to be successful in this division so even though I am tipping them for a struggle this year, they could also be the surprise package.

Out of the five I think it could be Barnet and Accrington Stanley to go down.

Macclesfield Town wave goodbye to the Football League

Macclesfield Town have been relegated from League 2 and manager Brian Horton has left the club so should there be optimism that the club will return to the Football League next season.

Assistant manager Glyn Chamberlain will take charge of the final fixture against Southend United in a disastrous season for the club which has left them rooted to the foot of the table and being unable to secure a place in the Football League for next season.

If the club are serious about bouncing back to the Football League at the first attempt then they need to appoint a manager and quickly so he can get some confidence back in the players and he can make sure that all the players he wants to stay do which is going to be vital. There will be quite a few players out of contract but there is still some quality in the side which is a lot better than the Blue Square Premier. Jose Veiga is a really good goalkeeper at this level and does have international experience although it is only for Cape Verde. His contract is out in the summer so hopefully they can keep hold of him as he is very consistent and although he may not have had the greatest of seasons, he has still played 41 times this year and they will need his experience in the squad next year. Tony Diagne is one of these who will benefit from his experience as he is only 21 but does look to be quite promising but inevitably he will make mistakes because of his age and he will need players like Veiga around him to support him, as well as the fans who shouldn’t get on his back too much. He has played 47 times this season scoring four goals which isn’t a bad return for a defender but he will be disappointed with the amount of goals they have conceded.

Ross Draper is another that has probably underperformed this season and he may not have been able to influence the play as much as he would have liked. But he is still a very promising player and a year in the Blue Square could toughen him up if he wants to stay and the new manager wants him too. This season he has played 31 games and scored four goals which just shows where the problem lies although he is not meant to get a lot of goals he will be disappointed he hasn’t contributed slightly more.

When you can’t defend you need to be able to score goals and unfortunately for the Moss Rose faithful this hasn’t happened that often with their top score only grabbing seven goals in the league. George Donnelly is the man with these goals and he has got them in 32 league games. Hopefully next season will be better for him as he has played in the lower leagues before and will know what it’s like. He signed for Macclesfield after an initial loan spell for an undisclosed five figure sum and he will be frustrated he hasn’t quite repaid the faith but if he scores the goals to get them back in the Football League all of the fans will be singing his name.

It is always sad to see clubs going out of the Football League and this time it was Macclesfield Town’s turn and they seem like a good set of fans and very friendly so I personally hope to see them return at the first time of asking. But it is not always simple just ask Luton Town, Darlington and Stockport County fans.

Darlington in a lot of trouble

Sad day for the North East as Darlington go into administration for the third time in nine years and are facing a points deduction in the Blue Square Premier.

Sitting in 13th place is not where the club want to be after many years in the Football League but now with all their mounting problems could be facing another relegation. Club chairman Raj Singh has been through many different managers with very little success, the managers have been quite well known as well. Colin Todd was the first in charge but was sacked after losing seven out of their first nine games of the season. Steve Staunton took over afterwards and when he arrived it was a lot different to his former role as the manager of the Republic of Ireland. Even with his many contacts in the game he could not bring any joy to the Quakers fans who only won four of his 23 games.

They inevitably got relegated to the Conference but still worse was to come in managerial terms as Simon Davey who managed the club till the end of the season then left the club. Raj Singh thought he had hired the right man in Davey’s long time assistant Ryan Kidd but without making a single signing and not even picking a single starting line up he left the club. 11 days was all he lasted and goes down as one of the shortest managerial reigns in history.

Mark Cooper was the next man in the managerial hot seat and he seemed to bring back a little bit of stability and consistency as he lasted the full season but in October he was inevitably sacked by Raj Singh who doesn’t seem to know exactly how to run the football club.

The Darlington fans must be sick to their stomach, they have a fantastic stadium and deserve better as the 128 year old club have spent most of that time in the Football League. At least last season they had some joy in winning the FA Trophy with a last minute winner from Chris Senior. Amazingly Senior was released four days later by Darlington.

The worst part about this whole debacle is that Carlos Tevez could pay for Darlington to get out of administration with one weeks wages. This is a man who allegedly refused to play and he could save a club from extinction by giving up a small amount. It’s not just about football players, it is everyone that works at the football club from the grounds man to the tea lady at training ground that are facing uncertainty. Real people in real situations and Mr Tevez is sitting with his feet not doing a single thing, footballers are frustrating people and surely it’s time for them to try and give a little more back.

I hope Darlington recover because nobody wants to see a club fold and they need all the help they can get like a lot of other football clubs in the country.