TTU 2010/11 Season Preview: League 1 (Part Two)

Posted by on Aug 4, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments

See Part One of the TTU 2010/11 League 1 Season Preview here.

MK Dons

Ok. Leaving the club from Milton Keynes out altogether may make us look a little childish. Will we still be ignoring them 20 years from now, when they have supporters who have grown up with them as their home-town club? Probably not. But, after a bit of back and forth, it was decided that this year is too soon for us.

Notts County

Headline of the Summer
Not an easy one since we’ve strengthened beyond many expectations with some quality signings who are already impressing the fans. Choosing one definitive moment, I’d probably say the return of Craig Short.

Shorty’s appointment was a bolt out of the blue in many respects. Our chairman was honest with the fans throughout the whole process, and he even publicly praised one of the applicants, Paul Ince. The eventual announcement therefore caught the majority of us off-guard; we knew Short was in the running, but so were Ince, George Burley and Paul Hart. Not the easiest of competition for the inexperienced ex-Notts legend who was most recently with Ferencvà¡ros in Hungary.

Apprehension reigned initially in some quarters over whether Short, a staple of the Neil Warnock era, would spoil his high standing amongst fans, but the quality of the new signings and promising results against Stoke and Cardiff have turned the tide. Everyone is firmly behind Short in his first management role in English football.

Kasper Schmeichel (Leeds) is the most prominent departure. How we move on from the loss of Kasper remains to be seen with both Rob Burch and Stuart Nelson having made the odd error in pre-season.

Krystian Pearce (Birmingham)
Liam Chilvers (Preston)
Jon Harley (Watford)
Ben Burgess (Blackpool)
John Spicer (Doncaster)
David Grof (Hibs)
Rob Burch (Lincoln)
Stuart Nelson (Aberdeen)
Kevin Smith (Dundee United)
Prior to his exit, Steve Cotterill (who caused a lot of anger and disappointment with his perceived stringing along of the club) released eight out of contract players:
Kevin Pilkington (Luton Town)
Russell Hoult
Jamie Clapham (Lincoln)
Matt Hamshaw (Macclesfield)
Delroy Facey (Lincoln)
Sean Canham (Hereford)
Ben Fairclough
Ade Akinbiyi

As well as Schmeichel, Johnnie Jackson also left to join Charlton on a free transfer.

Any major worries?
Very few concerns on the field as far as I’m concerned. What I’ve seen in pre-season has been enough to convince me that we can hold our own again strong opposition. Some people question whether we need more pace, though. This has apparently informed the club’s wish list in the transfer market, so expect movement shortly.

Who owns your club?
At least this season this is a question we can actually answer! That man is Ray Trew, who has continued to put his own money into the club since taking over. Last season he was on the verge of putting the club into administration and even told Cotterill this prior to appointing him. A change of heart later and everything has gone nigh-on perfectly for us.

Trew can be found participating on the club’s FootyMad forum on many evenings, emailing supporters personally to answer their questions. For me, it makes a refreshing change to the distance other club chairman maintain between them and their supporters.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
The team that started against Cardiff last week is likely to be the line-up that most resembles what Notts start the season with. Whether Krystian Pearce or Neal Bishop manage to break through in time is probably the biggest headache for Craig Short right now.

4-4-2: Burch – Thompson, Hunt, Edwards, Chilvers – Harley, Ravenhill, Davies, Spicer – Hughes, Burgess

Your prediction
We’re an optimistic bunch right now. We already had a squad that was far too strong for League 2, so we’d have been confident of making an impact in League 1 anyway. Throw into the mix some fantastic signings who’ve been performing well in pre-season and I think we’re aiming for the play-offs at least.

Stu Brothers, The WellyPie Blog

Oldham Athletic

Headline of the Summer
The appointment of new manager Paul Dickov

Warren Feeney (Cardiff)
Richie Jones (Hartlepool)
Jason Jarrett (Port Vale)
Dean Kelly (Crumlin United)
Rod McDonald (Stoke)
Hasney Aljofree
Chris Rowney
Liam Dawson
Michael McKerr
Phil Ojapah
Rene Steer
Kiegan Parker (Mansfield)
Danny Whitaker (Chesterfield)
Joe Colbek (Hereford)
Pawel Abbott (Charlton)

Jon Worthington, Rob Purdie, Kelvin Lomax, Greg Fleming and Joe Jacobson have all placed on the transfer list, too.

Any major worries?
Sean Gregan’s recovery from surgery. If he’s not fit to start the season, then there’s no adequate cover in the centre of defence. Midfielder Chris Taylor spent a lot of last season injured, and there’s a worry that these problems will recur. Finally, the lack of goalkeeping cover is a concern. Club number one Dean Brill lacks confidence and is prone to basic errors.

Who owns your club?
Simon Blitz, Simon Corney and Danny Gazal purchased the club in November 2003. Blitz and Gazal recently stepped down from their day-to-day involvement and Corney is now the club chairman.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
3-5-2: Brill — Jacobson, Holdsworth, Hazell — Jones, Jarrett, Furman, Taylor, Stephens — Abbott, Feeney

Your prediction
Middle of the road

Sean Mooney


Headline of the Summer
Gary Johnson rebuilding the squad with his players and philosophy

Dave Hibbert (Shrewsbury)
Grant McCann (Scunthorpe)
Mark Little (Wolverhampton)
James Wesolowski (Leicester)
Kelvin Langmead (Shrewsbury)
Nathaniel Mendez Laing (Wolverhampton, loan)
Seth Nana (Chelsea)
Aaron Davies (Yeovil)
Alfie Potter (Oxford)
Shaun Batt (Millwall)
Tom Williams
Jamie Day (Rushden)
Scott Rendell (Wycombe)
Craig Morgan (Preston)
Sergio Torres (Crawley)
Kwesi Appiah
Liam Hatch (Darlington, loan)
Toumani Diagouraga (Brentford)
Danny Andrew (Cheltenham)
Exodus Geohaghon (Rotherham, loan)

Of the new signings Grant McCann is probably the biggest name and early signs suggest he will be an excellent addition to the squad, especially at League 1 level. Mark Little is another player who has looked comfortable in the Championship; he was on loan with us last season, so he should be a terrific signing for this level. Dave Hibbert and Aaron Davies have impressed in recent friendlies.

Barry Fry, our director of football, has done an excellent job this Summer. Most of the players who are not good enough for this level have departed, with many going for fairly substantial fees as well. Selling Shaun Batt to Millwall for 300k is one of the best bits of business this club has done for a long time.

Any major worries?
I’m fairly optimistic about this season. We have a squad which is perfectly capable of achieving promotion from League 1; I believe it’s far stronger than the one which got us promoted in 2009. The league does appear stronger though this season with Huddersfield, Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday our main rivals for the promotion spots.

Who owns your club?
The chairman Darragh MacAnthony has been in the media a lot following the succession of sackings last season. The truth is though these were probably required. He is always the optimist, and regularly sets high targets for the squad – this season he wants this Peterborough side to win the League 1 title and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. He is very open with the fans, and is very highly regarded by most Peterborough United supporters.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Lewis — Nana, Langmead, Bennett, Little — Boyd, Wesolowski, McCann, Davies – Mackail-Smith, McLean

Your prediction
Automatics. I fancy us for the second spot.

John Verrall, Peterborough United Blog

Plymouth Argyle

Headline of the Summer
Peter Reid’s emergence from the wilderness

With the focus placed firmly on trimming the wage bill down to a more appropriate size for life in League 1, there’s been very few new signings. Centre half Bondz N’Gala was the sole loanee from last term to extend his stay in the south west, coming in on a free transfer from West Ham, while free-scoring striker Rory Patterson has been plucked from the Northern Ireland Premiership for a modest fee. Anton Peterlin, an American midfielder previously on the books of Everton, recently signed a one year deal following a successful trial. Just yesterday we also signed ‘keeper David Button on loan from Spurs, and left back Lee Molyneux on a five month contract.
A number of players have exited, but perhaps not as many as some fans would have hoped for given the disaster that was the 2009-10 season. Ex-Argyle boss Neil Warnock did us a favour by paying a decent fee for Jamie Mackie, but we’ve seen little else in the way of hard cash other than the reported £50k we received from Brighton for sultry forward Ashley Barnes.

Otherwise, full back Gary Sawyer joined Bristol Rovers following the expiration of his contract, and Alan Gow headed the released list after an unhappy year in Devon. Joining him was rookie ‘keeper Lloyd Saxton, midfielder Yoann Folly and full back David McNamee. Wantaway central midfielder Simon Walton won’t be seen around these parts for yet another year after he departed on a second successive season-long loan, this time to Sheffield United. Finally, promising forward George Donnelly has gone to Stockport for six months, and defender Chris Barker has rejoined Paul Sturrock at Southend, initially on loan.

Any major worries?
That, even though we’re now in a less competitive division, the rot from Paul Sturrock’s second spell is driven so deep that we continue to struggle and that attendances and morale carry on declining as a consequence. On a somewhat pettier note, finishing below Exeter would mark a new low.

Who owns your club?
Where to start? Put simply, the board is made up of three different factions: (1) Japanese businessman Yasuaki Kagami and his partner George Synan, (2) richlist dwellers Sir Roy Gardner and Keith Todd and (3) local businessmen Paul Stapleton, Tony Wrathall and Robert Dennerly. There’s plenty of conflict across the three groups, and the dearth of leadership at board room level has in no small way contributed to the club’s recent deterioration on the pitch. Worryingly for fans, the debt racked up trying to compete in the Championship has led to the sale of the ground to a holding company owned by Gardner, Todd and Kagami, so any money that stands to be gained from Plymouth’s ongoing bid to host matches in the 2018 World Cup would bypass the club. To be frank, we’re in a mess.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Larrieu – Duguid, Timar, Arnason, Molyneux – Peterlin, Johnson, D, Summerfield, Bhasera – MacLean, Fallon

Your prediction
Middle of the road. Too much deadwood remains for the moment, and it’ll take at least a year for Reid to wade through the club’s many problems. I wouldn’t necessarily rule out a late (unsuccessful) surge for the play offs, though.

Lloyd Langman, the two unfortunates


Headline of the Summer
The will-he, won’t-he saga of Craig Dawson’s impending transfer away from Rochdale. The centre-back, who was League 2’s Player of the Year last season, has submitted two transfer requests that have both been turned down by the management. Middlesbrough have been said to have submitted a £400,000 bid, but Dale want £1m. Somewhere in the middle would be about right.

Brian Barry-Murphy (Bury)
Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro (Grimsby)
Joe Widdowson (Grimsby)
Jack Redshaw (Man City)
Josh Lillis (Scunthorpe, loan)
Tom Kennedy (Leicester)
Chris Dagnall (Scunthorpe)
Rory McArdle (Aberdeen)
Kallum Higginbotham (Falkirk)
Kenny Arthur (Grimsby)
Nathan Stanton (Burton)
Ciarà¡n Toner

Any major worries?
The most major worry we have at the moment would be naming a full eleven plus substitutes. Our squad has been massively depleted by a spate of free transfers, most notably Chris Dagnall and Tom Kennedy, which has left our already paper-thin squad list looking even shorter. We have no recognised first-team keeper and only one winger. Keith Hill will have to conjure some transfer magic with little to zero cash. So yeah, no problems, Dale for Champions.

Who owns your club?
Our club is owned by a board of directors, chairman of which is Chris Dunphy, who made his modest fortune in ecclesiastical heating (he runs his business from the inside of one of our stands). The other directors are mostly local businessmen with successful but ultimately small-time companies (a funeral director, a pub owner, etc). No billionaires here, just rich men with foolish ideas.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-5-1: Lillis — Wiseman, Dawson, Holness, Widdowson – Barry-Murphy, Jones, Kennedy, Akpa-Akpro, Thompson – O’ Grady

Your prediction
Scraping the barrel

Matt Boothman, there’s always next year

Sheffield Wednesday

Headline of the Summer
If I may, the one headline consists of 3 interrelated points. First, the collapse of takeover bids; then the resignation of chairman, Lee Strafford; finally the High Court Winding up order, leaving the club ‘surprised and disappointed’.

Jon Otsemobor (Southampton)
Giles Coke (Motherwell)
Paul Heffernan (Doncaster)
Daniel Jones (Wolves)
Neil Mellor (Preston)
Clinton Morrison (Coventry)
Chris Sedgwick (Preston)
Gary Teale (Derby)
Leon Clarke (QPR)
Michael Gray (radio 5)
Francis Jeffers (last seen on trial at Blackpool)
Sean McAllister (Shrewsbury)
Frankie Simek (Carlisle)
Lee Grant (Burnley)

Any major worries?
On the pitch, we have no goalkeeper with any serious first-team experience, after the departure of Lee Grant (for a disappointingly low fee, only a third of which we receive up-front). Surprisingly, we have kept most of our decent players. But Jermaine Johnson may be gone by next week, after interest from Forest. He’s omitted from my speculative XI for that reason. We seem to have been inordinately injury-prone over recent years (rumours about the training ground surface continue to swirl), but this is a large squad as it stands. Off the pitch, our debts are at about £26 million. Say no more.

Who owns your club?
“Wednesdayite”, the trading name of Sheffield Wednesday Supporters Society Limited, an independent football supporters trust, owns 10.07% of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. The rest are assorted individual shareholders, of whom Dave Allen, now at Chesterfield still owns 9.9%.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Weaver (rumoured to be coming to Hillsborough) — Otsemobor, Spurr, Purse, Beevers – Potter, Coke, Sedgwick, O’Connor — Heffernan, Tudgay

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs at the least.

John Leigh, co-author of The Football Lexicon


Headline of the Summer
Come on you….whites.

It’ll be odd enough not having Saints in stripes, but the 125th anniversary kit barely has any red either, with just a red sash on plain white. It does look quite good, especially with the absence of a sponsor, but you have to wonder when 125 became a big anniversary anyway. Still, we’re starting the season in better shape than we have in many years, with the same squad, same manager and same board as last season, money in the bank, no debts and, hopefully, winning form. We didn’t need to sell and kept hold of players that can without doubt play at a higher level, while releasing those who simply haven’t performed. On the downside, we have kept Paul Wotton.

Danny Butterfield (Crystal Palace)
Frazer Richardson (Charlton)
Ryan Dickson (Brentford)
Lloyd James (Colchester)
Jon Otsemobor (Sheffield Wednesday)
Chris Perry
Wayne Thomas
Lee Molyneux (Plymouth)
Olly Lancashire (Walsall)
Jamie White
Graeme Murty
Simon Gilett (Doncaster)
Jake Thomson (Exeter)
Michael Poke (Brighton)
Garyn Preen (Burton)
Kyle McLaggon
Tom Dunford
Jack Boyle

Any major worries?
Being clear favourites for the title isn’t a position we’re used to so that’s a worry. Despite being our calmest summer for many years, fans have found things to moan about, mostly the new chairman. Many are impatient over new signings, feeling we haven’t replaced Michail Antonio and Papa Waigo who were the real pace in the squad last season, despite usually being on the bench.

Who owns your club?
Swiss billionaire Markus Liebherr. However, the chairman is Italian Nicola Cortese, who appears very serious, ruthless and has brought criticism from some fans already, with some trying to paint him as a Rupert Lowe figure. It’s hard to judge many of the decisions without knowing the full story, and that’s really been the problem now. Still, after coming so close to extinction, the majority of fans are still delighted to have wealthy owners with huge resources.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Davis – Harding, Fonte, Jaidi, Butterfield – Lallana, Schneiderlin, Hammond, Puncheon – Barnard, Lambert.

Your prediction
Champions by April

Adrian Reynolds


Headline of the Summer
Magic or Tragic Transfer Roundabout?

Michael Rose (Stockport)
David Prutton (Colchester)
David Ball (Man City, loan)
Simon Ferry (Celtic)
Paul Caddis (Celtic)
Thomas Dossevi (Nantes)
Billy Paynter (Leeds)
Gordon Greer (Brighton)

Any major worries?
The loss of Paynter and Greer. Quality of the replacements. Lack of a strong central defence. Are Pericard and Austin going to be able to form a good enough partnership up front?

Who owns your club?
A consortium headed by Andrew Fitton.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2 Lucas – Cuthbert, Rose, Amankwaah, Jean-Francois – Douglas, McGovern, Prutton, O’Brien – Pericard, Austin

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs, again, and probably more likely to be really chasing them this time, as opposed to being close to the automatic places like last season. Although the standard of the relegated teams doesn’t look quite as strong as the promoted lot from last season, the loss of one of the league’s leading goal scorers means we won’t be able to cancel out the leaky defence quite so easily.

Niall Slater


Headline of the Summer
Les Parry being given the manager’s job on a permanent basis. He did fantastically well last season and deserves his chance.

Timothy Catholina (Emmen)
Nick Wood (Sheffield Wednesday)
Enoch Showunmi (Falkirk)
Joss Labadie (West Brom)
Gunnar Nielsen (Manchester City – loan).
Gareth Edds (North Queensland Fury)
Bas Savage
Kithson Bain
Josh Macauley
Charlie Barnett
Chris Shuker
Craig Curran (Carlisle)

Any major worries?
The main worry I have is the depth of the squad. We have some good players who will be first choice players, but the lack of budget means that replacements are few and far between, so we can ill afford injuries and suspensions, especially to key players.

Who owns your club?
Peter Johnson.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-3-3: Nielsen – Broomes, Goodison, Wood, Cresswell – McLaren, Welsh, Labadie – Gornell, Thomas-Moore, Showunmi

Your prediction
Middle of the road – I don’t want another relegation battle wrecking my nerves! I think we can manage 14th or 15th this season.

Paul Harper,


Headline of the Summer
An unknown quantity: a season of new beginnings

Jonny Brain (Macclesfield)
David Bevan (Aston Villa)
Oliver Lancashire (Southampton)
Aaron Lescott (Bristol Rovers)
Paul Marshall (Manchester City)
Julian Gray (Re-signed)
Ryan McGivern (Manchester City, loan)
Clayton Ince (Retired)
Rene Gilmartin (Watford)
Rhys Weston (Dundee)
Mark Hughes (North Queensland Fury)
Mark Bradley (Rotherham)
Jamie Vincent (Aldershot)
Netan Sansara
Dwayne Mattis (Chesterfield)
Sam Adkins
Richard Davies
Peter Till (York)
Josh O’Keefe (Lincoln)
Sam Parkin (St Johnstone)

Despite finishing in our highest position for a few years, the club released several players and subsequently lost others to better paying clubs.

Any major worries?
The lack of depth and experience within the squad is a major worry; it’s time for the younger members of the squad to prove their worth.

Who owns your club?
Jeff Bonser is our chairman. Seen by many fans as a leech, but has bought true stability after many turbulent years which saw the club close to extinction.

The boardroom has been slightly restructured over the summer, with unpopular Chief Executive Roy Whalley moving to a lower profile role.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Brain – Lescott, Smith, Lancashire, Westlake – Richards, Gray, Marshall, Nicholls – Byfield, Deeney

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs.

Richard Millington, Bescot Banter


Headline of the Summer
Re-signing key players onto new contracts

Luke Ayling (Arsenal)
Andy Williams (Bristol Rovers)
Ed Upson (Ipswich)
Paul Huntington (Stockport)
Luke Freeman (Arsenal, loan)
Rob Kiernan (Watford, loan)
Cameron Stewart (Manchester United, loan)
Adam Virgo (Brighton)
John Sullivan (Millwall, loan)
Aidan Downes
Scott Murray
Gavin Tomlin (Dagenham and Redbridge)
Richard Martin
Terrell Forbes (Leyton Orient)
Andre McCollin
Kieran Murtagh (Wycombe)

Any major worries?
Currently we have no goalkeeper, but our manager has promised a quality loan is in the pipeline. Our squad is also very thin looking at the moment, but I’m confident with a couple more signings and few loan signings we will have a capable enough squad.

Who owns your club?
In recent years this has been a mysterious subject, but it has now become clear that we are currently owned partly by John Fry (the long-term chairman) and mostly by Norman Hayward, who keeps a low profile. I believe John Fry has the best interests of the club at heart, and only wants the best for the club. However, I think the club’s leadership doesn’t exploit opportunities to increase the club’s income and support, through a reluctance to take onboard new ideas. Fans are suspicious of Hayward and wonder what his motives for owning the club are, as there is often reluctance to talk about this.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Sullivan — Alcock, Smith, Huntington, Ayling — Kalala, Freeman, Williams, A, Welsh — Bowditch, Williams, S

Your prediction
Middle of the road – less of a struggle than the last few seasons!

Simon Barnfield

The Two Unfortunates
The non-partisan website with an eye on the Football League

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