TTU 2010/11 Season Preview: League 2 (Part Two)

Posted by on Aug 5, 2010 in Uncategorized | One Comment

See Part One of the TTU 2010/11 League 2 Season Preview here.


Headline of the Summer
Upwardly Mobile. Gary Simpson did a very good job taking over from the sadly deceased Keith Alexander. He has brought continuality and stability to the Silkmen, who continue to be hard to beat. Having managed to keep leading players Emile Sinclair, Ricky Sappleton and John Rooney, Simpson has added to his side with established League 2 players Richard Butcher and the classy Matt Hamshaw, amongst others. This should mean they should avoid any last-day drama this time around.

Richard Butcher (Lincoln)
Tyrone Barnett (Hednesford)
Lewis Chalmers (Aldershot)
Sam Wedgbury (Unattached)
Matthew Hamshaw (Unattached)
Jack Cudworth (Unattached)
Jason Beardsley (Unattached)
Lee Bell (Crewe)
Jon Brain (Walsall)
Matthew Tipton (Released)
Lee Bell (Released)
Kris Dennis (Released)
Sean Hessey (Released)
Francois Kompany (Released)
Craig Lindfield (Accrington)
Stephen Reed (Released)
Kyle Wilson (Released)
Ben Wright (Released)

Who owns the club?
Mike Rance is the current chairman.

Any major worries?
Whilst the immediate financial problems of past years seem behind them, Macc’s perennial low attendences mean it will always be a battle to keep the proverbial wolves from the door.
Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Vega – Reid, Tremarco, Brown, Morgan – Butcher, Chalmers, Daniel, Draper – Sinclair, Sappleton

Your prediction
A solid lower-mid-table outfit

scarf, the two unfortunates


Headline of the Summer
‘Shrimpers Aim to Go One Better’. Morecambe had a highly promising campaign last season, reaching the League 2 playoffs for the first time. Whilst their 6-0 first-leg capitulation to Dagenham and Redbridge was as disappointing as it was surprising, it should not take away from the progress made by the Shrimpers in only their third campaign since promotion from the Conference. Sammy McIlroy has continued to build well — the signings of Adam Rundle and Chris McCready look particularly good — and the club has been further boosted by a move to a new stadium, the grandly titled Globe Arena. Whilst the modern preference for flat-pack, out-of-town stadia mean that such moves are not always welcomed by supporters, Morecambe do genuinely seem to be progressing at present. Fans will hope this trend continues in their new home.

Adam Rundle (Chesterfield)
Paul Scott (Bury)
Chris McCready (Northampton)
Andy Fleming (Wrexham)
Jamie Spencer (Huddersfield, loan)
Stuart Hendrie (Atherstone)
David Artell (Crewe)
Scott Davies (Fleetwood)

Any major worries?
The move to the new stadium is exciting, but will also provide much upheaval off the field.

Who owns the club?
Peter McGuigan is the current chairman.

Likely Starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Roache, Moss, Wilson, Bentley, McCready – Rundle, Wainwright, Stanley, Drummond – Jevons, Mullin

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs, again.

scarf, the two unfortunates

Northampton Town

Headline of the Summer
Probably the departure of our cult figure and leading goalscorer of the past two seasons Adebayo Akinfenwa. What a player; you still have our love Bayo.

Nathaniel Wedderburn (Stoke City)
Tadhg Purcell (Darlington)
Alistair Slowe (Onisilos Sotira)
Marcus Hall (Coventry)
OUTAdebayo Akinfenwa (Gillingham)
Alex Dyer
Joe Benjamin
Luke Guttridge (Aldershot)
John Curtis (Gold Coast Utd)
Gary Mulligan

Any major worries?
Nothing major, a lack in depth in the attacking department is a small one at the moment, however a loan signing will no doubt solve this before the season begins. Last season, the day before the first game we signed two players on loan so I wouldn’t be surprised if we do that again.

Who owns your club?
The owner is our Chairman David Cardoza. A property developer by trade, his family have owned the club since 2004. This actually caused some debate amongst me and my mates, as some thought he was a stocks and shares fella. I’ve seen Cardoza described as a property developer, antiques dealer and a retired stockbroker, so it’s anyone’s guess what he is!

Likely Starting XI on August 7th
4-2-2: Dunn – Rodgers, Hall, Beckwith, Holt – Thornton, Davis, Osman, Gilligan – Purcell, McKay.

Alternatively, Sammo might go with his new 4-2-3-1 formation for the first game. His comments about putting a striker on the backburner would indicate it’s onw up top for us this season. Depends on who he signs at the wire.

Your prediction
Automatic promotion is a realistic target. Our manager Ian Sampson is building a young, talented squad.

David Cox

Oxford Utd

Headline of the Summer
We’re back in the Football League! Thank Christ for that. The Conference is a new level of purgatory that’s hard to explain to any club that hasn’t been relegated from the Football League. Something else exciting has probably happened in-between, but, to be honest, it’s taken a while to sober up since Wembley.

Ins / Outs
Simon Eastwood (Huddersfield)
Harry Worley (Leicester)
Leigh Franks (Huddersfield, loan)
Ben Purkiss (York)
Steven Kinniburgh (Glasgow Rangers)
Asa Hall (Luton)
Richie Baker (Bury)
Mitchell Cole (Stevenage)
Simon Heslop (Barnsley)
Jake Wright (Brighton)
Matt Green (Torquay)
Alfie Potter (Peterborough)
Danny Philliskirk (Chelsea, loan)
Billy Turley (Brackley)
Kevin Sandwith (Mansfield)
Adam Murray (Luton)
Jamie Cook (Crawley)
Francis Green (Brackley)
Chris Hargreaves
Adam Chapman (Sent down for 30 months after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.)

Any major worries?
That it all turns out to have been a dream and we wake up still in the Conference? All this talk about the Conference and the League 2 being close in terms of footballing standards turns out to be hogwash? Leading-scorer James Constable can’t cut it at a higher level? Manager Chris Wilder’s poached by a struggling Sheffield United? But these are all just so many possible clouds on a very distant horizon as far as we’re concerned right now.

Who owns your club?
Woodstock Partners Ltd. have controlling ownership of the club, and they are in turn are owned by Ian Lenegan (99.9%) and Nicholas Merry (00.1%). We rent the use of our ground from our previous chairman, Firoz Kassam. That’s several cooks involved in the Oxford United broth.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
Pretty similar to the side that played at Wembley I should think. Certainly we seemed to have settled into a 4-3-3 formation. Something like: Clarke – Tonkin, Creighton, Worley, Batt – Heslop, Bulman, Hall – Green, Constable, Midson.

Simon Clist and Jake Wright would probably be in that starting line-up were it not for injury. Sam Deering and Alfie Potter will no doubt make substitute appearances to run at Burton’s already-dispirited and defeated defence later in the game. What could possibly go wrong?

Your prediction
Middle of the road to chasing the play-offs. The experience of other Conference play-off winners suggests that holding our own and challenging the top seven shouldn’t be beyond us. With the impetus and spirit of togetherness the club has after last season, the nucleus of a settled side, and the managerial talents of Chris Wilder (m’Lord) I feel reasonably confident. And anyone who knows me will know that’s saying something.

Matt Derbyshire, OxVox, the Independent Supporters’ Trust of Oxford United

Port Vale

Headline of the Summer
Dull — but it has to be the ongoing battle waged by Mike Newton for investment in the club.

Ins / Outs
Gary Roberts (Unattached, although sacked by Rotherham in April)
Ritchie Sutton (NantwichTown)
Justin Richards (Cheltenham)
Sean Rigg (Bristol Rovers)
Stuart Tomlinson (Barrow)
James Lawrie, David Howland, Simon Richman, Danny Edwards, Ross Davidson and Danny Glover (all Released)
Luke Prosser (Southend)
Joe Anyon (Lincoln)
Daniel Lloyd-Weston (Cheltenham)

Any major worries?
The club made half a million pound losses last season so Bill Bratt’s discouragement of the potential investor conjured up images of people prone to gazing at horses’ mouths. Gary Roberts’ arrival is qualified by his cloudy past (the official reason for his leaving the Millers has never been divulged) and the amazing length of his six year contract.

Who owns the club?
Bratt, although for how much longer? Former Oldham director Newton has offered to invest 400k into the club and wants to replace Bratt as Chairman, despite being based in New York, a far cry from downtown Burslem.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-5-1: Martin – Yates, McCombe, Owen, Collins — Fraser, Roberts, Griffith, Kris Taylor, Rob Taylor — Justin Richards

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs

Lanterne Rouge, the two unfortunates

Rotherham United

Headline of the Summer
Technically not part of the Summer but it had to be the agony of the play-off final defeat. After cruising for much of the season, barn doors became increasingly hard to hit in the Spring months and all culminated in defeat at the hands of Dagenham.

Ins / Outs
Marcus Marshall (Blackburn)
Tom Newey (Bury)
Ryan Cresswell (Bury)
Johnny Mullins (Stockport)
Tom Elliott (Leeds)
Exodus Geohaghon (Peterborough, loan)
Luke Ashworth (Leyton Orient)
Mark Bradley (Walsall)
Michael Cummins, Pablo Mills, David Haggerty (all released)
Drewe Broughton (Lincoln)
Ian Sharps (Shrewsbury)
Gary Roberts (Port Vale)
Pablo Mills (Crawley Town)

Any major worries?
To his credit, Ronnie Moore realised that the team that made it to Wembley limped to this appearance and has responded with a busy amount of activity in the transfer market. Only the spectre of a repeat of last season’s slump lingers.

Who owns the club?
Tony Stewart chairs and Terry Stewart Vice-Chairs. The Chief Executive is Paul Douglas.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-5-1: Warrington — Newey, Tonge, Fenton, Geohaghon — Law, Harrison, Marshall, Ellison — Taylor, Le Fondre

Your prediction
Automatic — gotta be. The right manager is in place and if a silver lining came out of Wembley, it will be the way the game boosted Ryan Taylor’s confidence.

Lanterne Rouge, the two unfortunates

Shrewsbury Town

Headline of the Summer
That’s got to be Graham Turner’s return to the club from Hereford. When he was here as manager the first time round, he was absolutely outstanding. Took the team from the fourth division up to the second. Arguably the best manager Shrewsbury Town have ever had.

We haven’t received any money from transfers this summer; all have been transfers. Three of the best players from last season have left. Kelvin Langmead and Dave Hibbert have joined Peterborough while Terry Dunfield was released. Graham Coughlan and Paul Murray have also left the club.

On loan, we have brought in Mark Wright and Mat Sadler. There have been three permanent transfers. Matt Harrold has joined from Wycombe, Ian Sharps from Rotherham and David Raven from Carlisle. Finally, Ben Smith has come in, and Lionel Ainsowrth joined from Huddersfield a few days ago.

Any major worries?
At time of writing, we have only brought in one striker in Matt Harrold. One of our strikers, Kris Bright, will miss the start of the season with injury and another, Nathan Elder, is going to be out for a few months. I really think we need to bring in a 15+ goals a season striker before August 7th.

Who owns your club?
Roland Wycherley is the owner of the club, he is a lifelong fan of Shrewsbury Town so it’s just who you want as your chairman. He has done a magnificent job, and will always be known as the person who got the club their move to the new stadium.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Neal – Raven, Sharps, Cansdell-Sheriff, Sadler – Wright, Disley, McIntyre, Neal – Robinson, Harrold

Your prediction
For me, I would like to think that we are contenders for the top three. It’ll be a hard season, as there are some really good sides in this division — Southend United stand out — but i’m confident that, with two or three signings, we will be real contenders. I’m going to say, Automatic.

Ned Thomas

Southend United

Headline of the Summer
The effective dismissal of longstanding manager, and club legend, Steve Tilson, to be replaced by Paul Sturrock.

All on transfers and pre-contract agreements, meaning that they will be registered with the Football League when the club’s transfer embargo is lifted
Peter Gilbert (Northampton)
Barry Corr (Exeter)
Ryan Hall (Bromley)
Craig Easton (Swindon)
Louie Soares (Aldershot)
Glenn Morris (Leyton Orient)
Rhys Evans (Bristol Rovers)
Sean Clohessy (Bath City)
Bilel Mohsni (Bourges 18)
Sofiene Zaaboub (Unattached)
Graham Coughlan (Shrewsbury)
Blair Sturrock (Truro City)
Chris Barker (Plymouth, loan)
Mark Phillips (Unattached)
Luke Prosser (Unattached)
Steve Mildenhall (Millwall)
Kelvin Jack (Darlington)
Simon Francis (Charlton)
Osei Sankofa (released)
Adam Barrett (Crystal Palace)
Alan McCormack (Charlton)
Duran Reynolds (Dagenham and Redbridge)
Damien Scannell (Dagenham and Redbridge)
Kevin Betsy (Wycombe Wanderers)
Alex Revell (Leyton Orient)

Any major worries?
That we fail to pay off the winding up order, we are placed into administration, the transfer embargo stays in place, the management partnership remain without having signed a contract, and we’re left with four or five first team players to start the season with until we pay it all off.

Who owns your club?
This is a worryingly confusing question to answer! Ron Martin and Martin Dawn plc own the club, but Sainsbury’s pay off almost any debts we receive as they have the rights to buy the land that Roots Hall is on when we move into our planned new stadium at Fossetts Farm. Some say that Sainsbury’s have the majority shareholding, although they deny it.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
No-one can really tell with the number of comings and goings at the moment, if I had to say I would go for: 4-4-2: Evans, Clohessy, Coughlan, Mehsni, Gilbert – Soares, Easton, Grant, Sofiene – Paterson, Spencer

Your prediction
Could go either way, I’ll go for chasing the play-offs.

Sam Leveridge, Rocking At Roots Hall


Headline of the Summer
Off the pitch: the change of name from Stevenage Borough FC to Stevenage FC. It makes us look more professional apparently although I’m not convinced.
On the pitch: Michael Bostwick signing a new deal was big. He’s a massive player for us and we were resigned to losing him to a bigger club. However, he agreed a new 2 year contract and will be important again for us this season.

Darius Charles (Ebbsfleet)
Robbie Sinclair (Salisbury)
Luke Foster (Mansfield)
John Mousinho (Wycombe)
Peter Winn (Scunthorpe)
Andy Drury (Luton)
Eddie Odhiambo (Newport County)
Mark Albrighton (Kidderminster)
Mitchell Cole (Oxford)

Any major worries?
No major worries, although I’m slightly concerned that we may not have enough quality up front, but only time will tell whether the current forwards we have will make the step up.

Who owns your club?
Phil Wallace. He bought the club as it was about to go out of business back in 1999. It’s taken a while to get into the football league, but off the pitch, we’ve been ready for years. A lot of credit goes to Wallace for that.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Day – Henry, Laird, Roberts, Bostwick – Mousinho, Byrom, Long, Griffin – Sills, Odubade

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs

Matthew Kett, FC Boro

Stockport County

Headline of the Season
‘County Survive but Hard Times Lie Ahead’. After a year in administration, County finally were taken over in June by the 2015 Consortium, led by cake magnet Alwin Thompson and the owners of local white goods business MG Domestic, Mary and Tony Gibbons. Despite persistent rumours that former manager Jim Gannon would return to the club, former Carlisle, Preston and Shrewsbury boss Paul Simpson was appointed as manager. He inherited a squad decimated by the financial hardship that had beset the club over the last two years and which found itself massively short on quality, or even established, players. He has since brought in 6 new players, but the squad still seems painfully small and weak and, as Simpson himself has said, this season’s only objective should be survival in the League.

Mark Lynch (Rotherham)
Barry Conlon (unattached)
Jordan Rose (unattached)
George Donnelly (Plymouth, loan)
Mansour Assoumani (unattached)
Johnny Millins (Rotherham)
Sam Barnes (released)
Louis Barnes (released)
John Disney (released)
Peter Thompson (Linfield)
Paul Huntingdon (Yeovil)
Michael Rose (Swindon)

Any major worries?
On the pitch, boys were all too often asked to do the job of men last season, and judging by how threadbare our squad is still, I cannot see that changing. Off the pitch, the takeover by the 2015 consortium means that at least we still have a club, but little is known about the individuals involved or even exactly who makes up the consortium. Paul Simpson seems a decent appointment, but I fear that, with little to work with, he will struggle to make an impact.

Who owns your club?
The 2015 Consortium took the club over in June. Since then there has been little heard from them, amid rumours that the newly appointed CEO and Club Secretary have already left. Little is also known about the neew chairman, cake magnet Alwin Thompson. Supporters are relieved to still have a club, but, following the disastrous way that the last two ownerships have ended, are instinctively suspicious given the lack of information being presented to supporters. The jury is very much still out.

Likely starting lineup on August 7th
4-4-2: Fon Williams – Lynch, Rose, Swailes, Assoumani – Griffin, Poole, Turnbull, Vincent – Conlon, Donnelly

Your prediction
Unless at least 5 quality loan signings are made, this squad will struggle to avoid a second successive relegation, most probably finishing bottom.

scarf, Stockport County Supporters’ Co-Operative and the two unfortunates

Torquay United

Headline of the Summer
Good news: Guy Branston joins the Gulls on a permanent contract after a very successful period on loan at the end of last season.
Sad news: The sudden death of Torquay United’s vice-chairman Paul Bristow. His generosity helped the Gulls regain their place in the Football League.

Guy Branston
Martin Gritton (Chesterfield, loan)
Billy Kee
Damon Lathrope
Lloyd Macklin
Danny Potter (Cambridge United)
Mustapha Carayol (Lincoln)
Matt Green (Oxford)
Steve Adams, Michael Brough, Mohammed Camara, Wayne Carlisle, Lee Hodges, Ben Joyce, Chris Todd, Tyrone Thompson (all released)

Any major worries?
An injury to one of the two midfield dynamos, Nicky Wroe and Lee Mansell.

Who owns the club?
A consortium of local businessmen – led by brothers Cris and Mark Boyce (sons of former chairman Tony Boyce) – who took over the club when it was relegated from the Football League, and within two years had restored some pride in the club and turned it into a professionally-run organization.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
Paul Buckle clearly enjoyed the World Cup. The Gulls started their last pre-season friendly with a 4-2-3-1 formation: Bevan – Nicholson, Ellis, Branston, Robertson – Mansell, Wroe – Zebroski, Benyon, Kee – Gritton

Your prediction

Chasing the play-offs.

Chris Cox, Gloucester Gulls

Wycombe Wanderers

Headline of the Summer
Gary Waddock installs an attractive style of football that has the potential to get results.

Scott Rendell (Peterborough)
Alan Bennett (Brentford)
Nikki Bull (Brentford)
Danny Foster (Brentford)
Ben Strevens (Brentford)
Marvin McCoy (Wealdstone)
Andy Sandell (Aldershot)
John Mousinho (Stevenage)
Lewwis Spence (Rushden)
Scott Shearer (Wrexham)

Any major worries?
The only problems could arise if offers come in for our players and manager, as that has been our downfall before. We’ve suffered from a poor second half of the season previously, too.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Bull — Westwood, Winfield, Bennett, Foster — Ainsworth, Montrose, Murtagh, Betsy — Rendell, Strevens

Your prediction
I feel myself that Wycombe have it in them to finish as Champions next season, or at least to be promoted back to League 1 at the first attempt.

Joe Myall

is co-editor of The Two Unfortunates. He's 31, supports Plymouth Argyle and takes a particular interest in the fortunes of those Football League clubs west of Bristol. He tweets @lloydlangman.

1 Comment

  1. Ben
    August 5, 2010

    “New chairman, cake magnet Alwin Thompson” – I sincerely hope that isn't a typo, Scarf. Perhaps every club should have a cake magnet – ours, apparently, is Sol Campbell…


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