Who will be League 2’s top scorer?

A difficult thing to predict is always who will top scorer be at the end of the season because so much can happen in a season including injuries and loss of form.

Sacking of managers can also be influential because even if someone is in goof dorm they may get dropped simply because the new man doesn’t fancy them or wants to bring in his own players. So, League 2 is obviously 46 games long and this could be a very tough choice as top scorer could be from a team that is challenging for promotion or it could easily be for a team that are struggling and this one player has become their star and is doing everything he can to save them as we saw last season with Izale McLeod at Barnet.

New Fleetwood Town signing Steven Gillespie could be considered the favourite as he does have a very good scoring record over the years but has unfortunately struggled with injuries. But just looking at his record he should be one of the most feared strikers in the division, he scored 25 goals 98 league games for Colchester United in League 1 and a lot of his appearances were from the bench so that makes his record look even worse. It was his 21 goals in 67 games for Cheltenham Town that convinced Colchester to sign him but he was struck down by injuries regularly and couldn’t get a good run of games going.

His main competition could come from Stuart Beavon of Wycombe Wanderers who were relegated to League 2 last season. The only problem with backing him is if he starts the season well then he could be sold if an offer comes in for him because he did score 20 goals last season while the club were playing in a higher division. But, if he does stay he should score goals for fun because he must be confident and will cause a lot of problems.

Billy Kee could be an outsider for the award as the 21 year old plays for Burton Albion who I think could struggle this season but obviously that will not stop this man from scoring as they weren’t exactly great last year and he still managed to score 12 goals in just 20 games. I would expect him to get to double figures but maybe it is a little too early for him to be considered top goal scorer.

Daniel Nardiello signed for Rotherham United this summer and will be hoping that he can score the goals to get them into League 1. Nardiello, who was once capped by Wales, has had an up and down career and never seems to settle at a club for very long will be hoping that manager Steve Evans gets the best out of him. The longest he has stayed at a club is two years but this may be where he shines so he may stay for longer and what better way to start than win the Golden Boot in League 2.

Finally, yet another Fleetwood Town signing David Ball could be an outsider especially if him and Gillespie form a good partnership. Ball, came through the Manchester City academy and will be hoping to show his quality in League 2 this year and he did do quite well for such a young lad at Peterborough United in the last few years where he scored nine goals in 41 games. He is an outsider but definitely in with a chance.

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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.

 

Exeter City are relegated to League 2

Exeter City have been relegated to League 2 but as their manager Paul Tisdale has said it is time to look towards the future and forget about this season.

They were beaten 4-1 by Carlisle United in their previous game and the manager knows it will be tough to return straight to League 1 next season but in Tisdale they have a very good manager who has done remarkably well for the club as they have a really small budget and have competed as well as they could for a number of years now. He has won 120 of his 312 games in charge and has led the club to one of their highest positions ever when they finished the 2010-11 season in 8th place just missing out on the playoffs. But this season is not done yet for them and they have a big say in who gets promoted automatically with them playing Sheffield United at home on the last day of the season so they will want to cause a bit of an upset and let the fans go home happy.

If they keep together the squad they have now they have a good chance of getting promoted next season and in goalkeeper Artur Krysiak they have someone with a lot of potential and at the age of 22 he has played over 100 games which is a good achievement for a goalkeeper. He has produced some good performances this season and could be in contention for goalkeeper of the year next season if he produces the form fans know he is capable of. In defence they have a young defender in Scott Bennett who has also impressed when given the chance this season and can also be an attacking threat with him scoring two goals in limited appearances so far. The fans will be happy to know that he has signed a new contract and will hopefully continue to develop at the club.

Liam Sercombe is a midfielder that has a lot of talent and has played a lot of games for the club already and is he is given the confidence to just go out and play he can be very effective and it could be quite difficult to keep hold of him in the summer as he has scored seven goals in 32 league appearances this year which isn’t bad for a midfielder especially in a struggling side. Also in the midfield they have David Noble who came through the Arsenal youth team so must have had some ability but now at the age of 30 he hasn’t quite lived up to these expectations but could be vital for Exeter next season if he stays.

In attack is where they have struggled this season as their top scorer only has 11 goals and they have come from Daniel Nardiello who like Noble, was a promising player as a youngster but hasn’t been able to do it in the football league consistently enough. He has shown glimpses of talent with some very good movement and some good goals but he has also been booked nine times and sent off once which shows another side to his game. In fairness to him though his strike partners haven’t really been up to it and he will be hoping for more success next season. Richard Logan only has five goals in 28 games but in his defence he has only started 11 of those games and Guillem Bauza only has two goals in 26 games so that just shows how difficult it has been for the club this season.

But looking on the bright side, they have a lot of talented youngsters and if they keep hold of them they should have enough quality to challenge for the playoffs at least next season. The only thing is that Exeter aren’t the richest club and if they get a decent offer for one of their players they will have to accept but it would be good to see them progress and play first team football and help Exeter City get back to League 1.