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.

 

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Shrewsbury Town heading for promotion

To win the league or gain promotion a team has to keep winning games when they don’t play at their best and this is exactly what Shrewsbury Town did against Crawley Town.

They were under severe pressure for most of the game especially in the first half and even in the second when they were more in the game, they only had 40% of the possession. They scored two goals from only three shots on target which shows that they have the quality upfront to punish teams even when they are underperforming.

Graham Turner proved yet again that he is one of the best managers in the division as his half time substitutes were exactly what his team needed and Marvin Morgan scored the winner after some battling work from Jermaine Grandison. Grandison won the ball and played through Morgan who cooly slotted it past the advancing keeper. Turner, realised he had to change things as his team were under a lot of pressure however his team had just equalised through Mark Wright before halftime and this may have made some managers change their team talk and give the players on the pitch another 15 minutes to change their performance. But, he stuck to his guns and this proved decisive as they went on to win the game.

I was really impressed with Shrewsbury and they had some standout performances all over the pitch. Goalkeeper Chris Neal pulled off some brilliant saves including a fantastic reaction stop from Sanchez Watt. He did keep them in the game at times and couldn’t really do much about the goal as it was a very good finish from John Akinde but he definitely deserves a lot of praise for his performance. Ian Sharps, at the back also impressed me and his experience could prove vital if the team are to get promoted this season. He led the defence well and was rarely beaten in the air and although he may not be the quickest his positioning was usually perfect which gave him a few yards so he did not get outrun by the fast forward line of Crawley.

I really like Mark Wright on the wing for Shrewsbury as well because he has the pace and directness to frighten defenders and isn’t afraid to try a trick. Also his goal scoring rate is really impressive for a winger and he must contribute to a lot of goals with assists too. It is quite rare to find a winger that will add a substantial amount of goals but in Wright they definitely have a constant threat. Matt Richards caught my eye too and I am surprised he is playing in League 2 as he looked like he had a lot of potential when he was a youngster at Ipswich Town. He plays the game simple and keeps the ball very well for his team. When the team were under pressure he used his experience to slow the tempo down and dictate the game.

Now the strikers is where Shrewsbury really show their quality as in my opinion they have three strikers that will score goals in this division. James Collins looks like a goal scorer who will get a lot from inside the box and quite a few of them with his head. Terry Gornell who did not have the best of games in fairness is usually a very clever striker and will perform better than this and will score a lot more goals for the club. Finally, they have Marvin Morgan who is very tall but this isn’t why he is a good striker, it is his ability with the ball at his feet and his turn of pace. He also showed that he can finish when the opportunity comes along.

Shrewsbury are a good bet for promotion and I for one will not be backing against them because they have quality all over the pitch and a manager that deserves some more success in his long career.