This upcoming League 2 season features both ‘larger’ clubs that have fallen from higher leagues, mixed with clubs that have either stayed in league 2 or lower since they were formed. I will be looking at who I think will be the contenders for promotion and relegation from Sky Bet League 2 this upcoming season.
Portsmouth- Often considered the favourites for the title, Portsmouth have strengthened in suitable areas and have an experienced coach at league 2 level in Paul Cook who knows how to get clubs out of this division. With an average gate of over 16,000 last season, which is more than some Championship and League 1 clubs, they have the belief that this year will finally be Pompey’s year for promotion.
Leyton Orient- The O’s have been busy in the transfer market themselves, selling players who fell below expected standards and bringing in players who are proven at league 2 level. Leyton Orient are definitely a team to watch this season.
Plymouth Argyle- My side have had a revamp since May’s dissapointing Play Off final defeat to AFC Wimbledon, So far Argyle have made 11 new signings, with David Goodwillie, Karleigh Osborne and Gary Miller in particular looking strong. I think under Derek Adams Argyle will be threatening the automatic promotion spots once again.
Cheltenham- Outsiders according to the bookies, but i think Cheltenham have a chance of making it double promotion following their Conference Title last season. At the beginning of the 2015-16 season Cheltenham revamped their squad and have a fresh hungry group of players, certainly one to watch for this season
Play Off Hopefuls
Luton- A side that finished in 11th place last season and have made a number of new additions, one signing that looks to be a good piece of business is Danny Hylton from Oxford who looks to be a threat. The problem with Luton last season was their poor home form, which if that can be solved there is no reason why Luton can not be sitting comfortably in a play off spot in May.
Doncaster- A team that got relegated last season have to adjust to life in league 2 so it will be difficult to really predict where they will finish. However in my opinion Doncaster still have some top quality players, so will be difficult to beat, so i think that they can at least aim for a play off place.
Notts County- County had a write off season last year, with it pretty much going wrong in all areas, including a humiliation from local rivals Mansfield. This season they have brought in John Sheridan as manager, who is proven at this level. As I have seen at Argyle he brought improvements to our side every season, so there is no reason why Notts County can’t improve and finish in the top 7.
Grimsby- A side that got through to league 2 after beating Forest Green in the play off final at Wembley. They have a very good side, consistently finishing in the top 5 of the conference for the last couple of years. I think Grimsby can really push on this season and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were competing in yet another season of play offs.
Mansfield- My outsider for a top 7 finish, they have been astute in their transfer business and brought sensibly. They had a very inconsistent season, where at one stage they were lying fourth in the table. If Mansfield can be more consistent, particularly away from Field Mill, then they have a chance of finishing in the play offs.
Morecambe- For me Morecambe have not strengthened in the correct places, particularly in defence enough for them to cause any serious problems to teams. I think that they are a club that have been living in mid table league 2 territory for 3-4 years and i think that this season might be the season where they may just fall back into the Conference.
Stevenage- A very small club for league 2, under Graham Westley in the 2014-15 season Stevenage impressed me finishing 6th in the table, losing to Southend in the play offs. Ever since then however Stevenage have fallen apart narrowly avoiding relegation last season. Sadly I think they will be down there competing to stay in the football league again.
Blackpool- A huge club even at league 2 level, but matters off the field have destroyed performances on it, even with signing Jamille Matt who looks to be a good signing, they are a team in decline and i think they might struggle to adjust to life in league 2.
Crewe- Crewe have only brought in a couple of players from the team that performed appallingly in league 1 last year, I don’t think they have done the correct business in the transfer window for Crewe to reasonably be a threat in this division.
So that is my predictions for who I think will be title contenders, the teams who will be pushing the title contenders all the way, as well as the sides who will be fighting to keep their football league status intact.