The Welsh Gull

Torquay United, the Football League and other stuff

2011-12 Predictions – League Two

with 2 comments

Having finally settled on a table after much deliberation, here is what I naively think will happen this year in the basement division of the Football League:

1. Crawley Town
They have loads of money (apparently), enough to buy their way out of the division a la Rushden. The question is where their upper limit will be – I doubt it’s League Two. Steve Evans still a knob. As is Paul Rayner

2. Bristol Rovers
Some may expect my feelings towards Mr Buckle and Mr North to be hard but in fact I wish them all the best, and I hope they take the fight to Crawley. Bucks has built what seems to be a quality side with plenty of L2 experience

3. Port Vale
Micky Adams has a good record in the lower leagues, and the Valiants’ charge fell apart when he left last year. Being a self-proclaimed “big club” for this division, they will most likely be contenders, probably leading the chasing pack

4. Oxford United
Although relations between Torquay and Oxford haven’t been fantastic down the years, I have great respect for the job that Chris Wilder has done there and they should build on last year’s solid season to push for promotion

5. Shrewsbury Town
Some solid signings this summer such as Reuben Hazell, Marvin Morgan and Matt Richards should keep Shrewsbury in the hunt. They were inconsistent last year, notably falling apart against Torquay (!), but they had good form prior to the play-offs

6. Rotherham United
Andy Scott has had a big clear-out this summer but has once again kept hold of star striker Adam Le Fondre, who no doubt is a contender to be top scorer again. Scott also knows his way out of League Two. A rebuilding year but they will be up there

7. Swindon Town
It’s a big gamble wherever you put Swindon right now, but history says once a lower league side starts dabbling in the foreign market, that’s bad news (although Martinez proved that wrong at Swansea). They’re more likely to be up there but it could go horribly wrong

8. Northampton Town
Gary Johnson is, ultimately, a good manager at this level, and has proved it many times before. Despite a poor start last year which saw them nearly relegated, you would expect them to have learned from that and come back stronger

9. Gillingham
Again, a good solid side last year, but the big loss for the Gills is Cody McDonald, who fired them up the table last year. Replacement Danny Kedwell is an unproven quantity at this level. I have a feeling they’ll come up short again

10. Torquay United
I am confident (perhaps over-confident) that Martin Ling has built us a very good side. OK, so we’ve lost Zebroski, Branston and Stanley, but the replacements are also capable players and we’ve had a strong pre-season. Perhaps the play-offs is a bit too far at this stage but I’m not worried about relegation

11. Bradford City
Bradford, despite their relatively recent Premier League status, have had a hit-or-miss time in League Two in recent years, hence my reluctance to put them further up the table. Ross Hannah, who scored 102 goals in 130 appearances for Matlock Town, is one to watch

12. Southend United
Led by the immensely experienced Paul Sturrock, Southend were tricky opponents at times last year but lacked the consistency to push for the play-offs. The club are now looking more financially stable and have made more improvements. Could be an outside bet for the top 8

13. Aldershot Town
Mid-table last year, mid-table this year? That’s not always how it works out but like Bradford, I’m reluctant to go one way or the other. Dean Holdsworth stabilised them last year but can he take them further forward this year? Dark, dark horses

14. Crewe Alexandra
Donaldinho is gone, and that’s a major blow for the Alex. They have stability, they have experience, they have a great academy, and they have Dario Grady. But I reckon they are more likely to be an outside bet for a relegation battle than for the play-offs

15. Cheltenham Town
Another club that has stabilised somewhat after a difficult 2009-10. Wes Thomas, a key man last year, has taken the money and run to Crawley (who else?) but they have brought in some decent players, including Kaid Mohamed from AFC Wimbledon

16. Dagenham and Redbridge
Traditionally the smaller teams that are relegated from League One struggle as the decent players in the squad move on to bigger clubs. That’s what I’m predicting for the Daggers, who have lost Danny Green and Romain Vincelot this summer and Paul Benson previously. Could be a tough year

17. Accrington Stanley
I know people may be saying the same about Torquay, but Accrington have lost key players this summer and look unlikely to repeat last year’s feats. It’s also worth noting that they had a poor away record last year, so any loss of form at home could be very bad news

18. AFC Wimbledon
My guess is the Dons are more likely to be a Burton than a Stevenage. Why? I don’t see an awful lot of, or enough, Football League experience there. I just have a feeling this could be the year they find their level, although a return to the Conference is unlikely

19. Burton Albion
Speaking of which, I see another difficult year for Burton in prospect. Having just managed to haul themselves away from the drop zone at the end of last year, I don’t think they’ve added enough quality to avoid being in another struggle. Having said that, look at Accrington and Torquay…

20. Plymouth Argyle
Perilous. Frightening. Doomed? The Pilgrims’ current financial position is bad news not just for them but for football in the South West generally. As a Torquay fan, I may have a chortle now and then but we really need Argyle to pull through

21. Barnet
Lawrie Sanchez is a great coup for a little club like Barnet but they are still the little club Barnet. There are some good players there, notably the strikers McLeod and the experience Kabba, but they were both there last year and they still nearly went down. I’d be amazed if they’re above about 18th in the end

22. Morecambe
McIlroy out, Bentley in. And my gut feeling on this is if a man of Sammy Mac’s experience can’t keep them away from the bottom, the inexperienced Bentley is unlikely to. After that one good season, I fear Morecambe are on the slide back towards where they came from

23. Hereford United
Hereford are increasingly looking like a very small club for this division and are once again likely to struggle this year. They’re a great little club and it’s a great away trip so this isn’t easy for me to say, but a return to the Conference isn’t unlikely now

24. Macclesfield Town
Always a good bet for the bottom end of the table, and perpetually tipped for the drop, is this the year Macclesfield finally return to the Conference? They’ve lost key players Bencherif and Barnett, who were the main forces in keeping them at arm’s length from the relegation battle, so I can’t see them doing particularly well from that

So, that’s something close to how I expect this season to pan out. I will revisit this at the end of the season if I’m not horrifically out. If I am horrifically out, I’ll pretend it never happened, and so must you

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Written by James Bennett

July 28, 2011 at 13:08

2 Responses

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  1. Nice summary there mate. I’m popping a predicted league table up on Sunday along with two other “twitterers” @GreenwichGull & @dannybrothers.

    Have you seen our previews so far? Let us know what you think

    http://www.maxihobbs.com/blog or follow @maxihobbs

    Maxi Hobbs

    July 29, 2011 at 19:11

    • Cheers

      Yeah, I read the previews before I went away, though I missed the table. I think averaging it out worked quite well

      All the best for this season – I’m quite disappointed our visits to Whaddon Road will be midweek again as it’s always one of the away days we do and a good day out

      James Bennett

      August 14, 2011 at 23:43


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