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

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

After who knows how many hours in preparation, our build up to the new season closes with League 2. Thank you to all of the contributors across the three divisions who were so generous with their time and views; we better get started on repaying those favours…

Accrington Stanley

Headline of the Summer
Transfer embargo. Preparations for the new season have been hampered by a (now lifted) embargo for the late filing of accounts, which has impacted on manager John Coleman’s attempts to replace the important players who have left.

Craig Lindfield (Macclesfield)
Michael Hall (Blackburn)
Ray Putterill (Liverpool)*
Andy Parkinson (Gateshead)*
Ricky Boulding (Bradford)
Jon Bateson (Bradford)
Alex Cisak (Leicester)
Sean Hessey (Macclesfield)
Bobby Grant (Scunthorpe)
Gary King (Hinkley Utd)
John Mullin
Darran Kempson (Grimsby)
Michael Symes (Bournemouth)
John Miles (Fleetwood)

* Will sign once transfer embargo is lifted

Any major worries?
An issue over ownership, which has led to the forementioned transfer embargo.

Starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Dunbavin – Hessey, Bateson, Winnard, Edwards – McConville, Procter, Ryan, Putterill – Murphy, Lindfield

Your prediction
Middle of the road

bdc, Accrington Stanley Mad

Aldershot Town

Headline for the Summer
All change at the Rec! Over the last couple of months since we lost in the play-off Semi Finals, the front door at the Rec hasn’t shut with 12 players leaving the squad and 11 players coming in. Kevin Dillon, who took over in November, seems to finally have his own squad.

Darren Jones (Hereford)
Jack Randall (Crystal Palace)
Jamie Vincent (Walsall)
Luke Guttridge (Northampton)
Manny Panther (Exeter)
Damian Spencer (Kettering)
Glen Little (Sheffield United)
Aaron Morris (Cardiff)
Wade Small (Chesterfield)
Jermaine McGlashan (Ashford Town [Middlesex])
Clayton Fortune (Weston-super-Mare)
Aaron Brown (Leyton Orient)
Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz (Released)
Dean Howell (Released)
Lewis Chalmers (Macclesfield)
John Grant (Released)
Omer Riza (Released)
Chris Blackburn (Wrexham)
Kirk Hudson (Brentford)
Scott Donnelly (Swansea)
Dave Winfield (Wycombe)
Andy Sandell (Wycombe)
Louis Soares (Released)

Any major worries?
My only worry is that with so many players having joined the club, it will be similar to the summer of 2005 when Terry Brown brought in plenty of new faces after a play-off Semi defeat and we were bottom of the table at the end of August, finishing in the bottom half of the Conference at the end of that season.

Who owns your club?
If 11 players being brought in wasn’t enough, we’ve now got a new chairman called Kris Machala who replaces John Leppard, who is the new vice chairman. A Supporters’ Trust was set up towards the end of last season and hopefully this will bridge the gap between the supporters and the club.

Starting XI on August 7th
4-5-1: Young – Herd, Vincent, Jones, Charles – Little, Straker, Harding, Panther, Guttridge – Morgan

Your prediction
I’m going to be really brave here and say automatic promotion but there are plenty of decent teams in this league, so it’s going to be tough but we have the right manager, I think.

Chris Amy, shotsweb


Headline of the Summer
Like with Aldershot, it’s been all Change at Underhill. After the departure of manager Ian Hendon towards the end of last season following the Bees’ slide down the table, former Gillingham, Stevenage and Grays boss Mark Stimson has taken the reins. With a reputation for playing good football and spotting potential (previous alumni include George Boyd, Michael Kightly and Gary Hooper), he seems a good appointment, and Bees fans will hope for an improved outcome this time around.

Ricky Holmes (Chelmsford)
Glen Poole (AFC Wimbledon)
Glen Southam (Histon)
Sam Cox (Spurs)
Danny Kelly (Norwich)
Anwar Uddin (Dagenham)
Jordan Parkes (Watford)
Charlie Stimson (Gillingham)
Rossi Jarvis (Luton)
Damian Dennehy (Cardiff)
Matt Byrne (Nottingham Forest, loan)
Daniel Leach (previously with Barnet and released by Ian Hendon)
Steve Kabba (Brentford)
Ismail Yakubu (Released)
Albert Jarrett (Lincoln)
Nicky Deverdics (Released)
Jake Hyde (Released)
Luke Medley (Released)
Ryan O’Neill (Released)
Joe Tabiri (Dover)
Cliff Akurang (Released)
Gary Breen (Released)
Ahmed Deen (Released)
Paul Furlong (Released)
Kenny Gillet (Released)
Micah Hyde (Released)
Daniel Leach (Released) (re-signed by new manager)
John O’Flynn (Exeter)

Any major worries?
The squad is made up of largely new faces, many of whom are untried at this level previously. They will have to gel quickly if the Bees are to improve on recent struggles.

Who owns the club?
Anthony Kleanthous is the chairman and major shareholder. He is also a director of the Football League and the FA.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Cole – Devera, Parkes, Uddin, Dennehy – Poole, Southam, Hughes, Jarvis – Kabba, Holmes

Your prediction
An improvement on previous seasons, but the new squad will take time to blend. Middle of the road.

scarf, the two unfortunates

Bradford City

Headline of the Summer
“Bradford City Striker Guilty Of Murder” is as arresting as it is half true. The player in question is Gavin Grant who was a non-paid player for the final three months of last season and was not getting a new contract this term, but that coupled with new striker Jake Speight being sent to prison for a weekend after an assault has left the club and its fans debating almost anything other than men kicking a ball about.

Speight arrived at the club without having mentioned the court appearance that would see him sent to prison for twelve weeks (although he was freed on an appeal against the sentence), leading to accusations that he had lied by omission to the club and to manager Peter Taylor, who was left fuming. Taylor – a fine manager – had given the club a list of requirement of how to “do things properly” in order to retain his service: the need to move to a new training facility (which fell through), money for overnight stays for long away trips and a re-laid pitch to allow some decent football to be played.

So with the news of one striker in prison and another guilty of murder, the club published a series of stories about how the new pitch was bedding in. Watching the grass grow did not prove to be the distraction from the criminality of the forward line.

Ins / Outs
Peter Taylor signed up two of the loan players who were are the club last year – Luke Oliver and Robbie Threlfall from Wycombe and Liverpool respectively – and he brought in his former Wycombe playmaker Tommy Doherty on a free while Cheltenham defender Shane Duff also signed. Jake Speight signed from Mansfield for £25,000 and Lloyd Saxton arrived on a free transfer from Plymouth as a back-up ‘keeper. Tom Adeyemi joined on six months loan from Norwich. Rookie Stoke forward Louis Moult has joined on loan from Stoke, and Lewis Hunt has signed late on from Wycombe.
Freed by the club at the end of last season were Matthew Clarke, Matt Glennon and Stephen O’Leary who joined a host of players chucked out when Peter Taylor arrived in March that included Chris Brandon, Peter Thorne as well as Michael and Rory Boulding. James O’Brien left two weeks ago to return to Irish football.

Any major worries?
If you have ever been at a party, heard a group laughing on the other side of the room and worried that you are not in the most fun part of the room then you know the overriding emotion that grips Bradford City supporters. We are the supporters gripped by fear and that fear is that we might be doing things wrong. Ever since the club fell from the Premiership ten years ago City fans have – on the whole – skittered from idea to idea, from support to support, ever worried that the horse they’re backing might turn out to be a nag, that route they are driving might end up doing nowhere, that the people on the opposite side of the room are having more fun.

Managers and players have come and gone in the name of this, culminating in a bitter feud between fractured supporters about then manager Stuart McCall with some saying that the legendary player deserved more than the regular swing of the bat as City boss, and others having their head turned and deciding that – once again – the decline would be arrested by changing manager.

Curiously after McCall, City hit on gold – or silver at least – with the experienced former England manager Peter Taylor arriving at the club, and while results hardly improved on the field the mood around the club did. Taylor – a manager who has had success and repeated it – is an outstanding manager compared to the field of League 2, but the worry is that unless the Bantams are uncharacteristically rampaging to the top of the league early on then that skittishness will return and jealous eyes will turn from Taylor who only has a contract until the end of the season. And then the Bantams will be left once again looking for the next manager assuming he will be Midas rather than staying with a manager and letting him do his job long term.

Who owns your club?
The club is joint owned by Julian Rhodes – a local supplier of guidance systems of Amram missiles – and Mark Lawn, who sold his van hire company and bought into the club three years ago. Rhodes is the silent partner to the rambunctious Lawn who upsets some with his abrasive style and often seems far too interested in keeping the loudest – as opposed to the most sensible or largest group of – supporters happy. He has – loans to himself aside – put the club in the black which he deserves some credit for.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
After two years on the bench Jon McLaughlin will step up to being the number one. Simon Ramsden starts his second year at right back and Steve Williams will hope to build on a great first season in the middle alongside new recruit Shane Duff, who arrived after a decade at Cheltenham. Robbie Threlfall arrived from more glamorous surroundings of Liverpool but spend the final three months of last term on loan at left back for City.

A midfield three is favoured with Lee Bullock having won plaudits for the holding position and his and Michael Flynn’s retention has been key for City’s optimism for the year. Bullock and Flynn will be joined by new recruit Tommy Doherty who played for manager Taylor at Wycombe Wanderers and is known as the Gattuso of League 2.

James Hanson leads the line – he is struggling to be fit but will hopefully make the first day – with questions as to who can play alongside him. Omar Daley is suspended but would probably be on one of the flanks and his deputy Leon Osbourne is out injured. Gareth Evans might end up filling in for Hanson or can slot in on the flank and new recruit Jake Speight may have a role to play and – should he start his City career scoring – would go some way to making good on the bad he has done in the summer.

Your prediction
The only prediction I can make is that at various parts of the season we will seem to be heading for all five of Championes!, Automatic, Chasing the play-offs, Middle of the road and Scraping the barrel.

Michael Wood, Boy From Brazil

Burton Albion

Headline of the Season
Steady Progression the key for Brewers. Paul Peschisolido made a steady start, guiding Burton to a solid 13th placed finish. He has continued the good work of Nigel Clough and improved the squad both in quality and depth. Darren Moore, Nathan Stanton and Adam Bolder are both quality signings, and mean the Brewers approach the coming season with confidence.
Darren Moore (Barnsley)
Adam Legzdins (Crewe Alex)
Adam Bolder (Milwall)
Lewis Young (Watford)
Jack Dyer (Aston Villa)
Nathan Stanton (Rochdale)
James Ellison (Liverpool)
Darren Stride (Released)
Guy Branston (Torquay United)

Any major worries?
Paul Peschisolido has done a really steady job since taking over this time last year. Holding onto him will be key to the Brewers’ continued success, as bigger clubs will no doubt come knocking when the sacking season starts in earnest.

Who owns the club?
The Robinson family, led by chairman, Ben Robinson

Likely starting X1 on Aug 7th
4-1-3-2: Legzdins – Austin, Stanton, Moore, Boertien – Bolder – Penn, McGrath, Maghorna – Pearson, Harrad

Your prediction
Chasing, and ultimately reaching, the play-offs.

scarf, the two unfortunates
Headline of the Summer
Alan Knill has showed he has the brass knackers needed to be a gaffer in the basement by refusing to bow to David Buchanan’s no-show regarding the signing of the contract offered to him. When the left back didn’t get back to the club by the set deadline or return any of the manager’s phone calls, the offer was withdrawn and Bury’s longest-serving player was unceremoniously released.

Ins / Outs
Joe Skarz (Huddersfield)
Steve Schumacher (Bradford)
Andy Haworth (Blackburn)
Peter Sweeney (Grimsby)
Tom Lees (Leeds, loan)
Phil Picken (Chesterfield)
Kyle Bennett (Wolves)
Brian Barry-Murphy (Rochdale)
Andy Morrell (Wrexham)
Tom Newey (Rotherham)
Stephen Dawson (Leyton Orient)
Ryan Cresswell (Rotherham)
Wayne Brown (Supersport United)
David Buchanan (Hamilton)
Paul Scott (Morecambe)
Richie Baker (Oxford)

Any major worries?
I’m still a little unconvinced that Cameron Belford is the right goalkeeper for us, though his confidence has been improving with every friendly. Stephen Dawson was an inspiration in midfield and will be badly missed when a game needs taking by the scruff of its neck.

Who owns your club?
The majority shareholding is owned by Forever Bury, the Supporters Society.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-3-3: Belford – Picken, Skarz, Futcher – Sweeney, Worral, Schumacher, Haworth, Lowe – Bishop, Sodje

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs

James Bentley

Cheltenham Town

Headline of the Summer
Mark Yates completes squad overhaul, or something referring to the fact we had only one signed on player for this season after the final game of the last one (he being a backup winger of 19 years old).

As stated, the squad has been completely overhauled following the reign of football’s most useless manager, Martin Allen, who oversaw a tenure in which our squad numbers hit the high 40s with countless loans. Some good, most bad.
Brian Smikle [Kidderminster]
Jeff Goulding [Bournemouth]
Daniel Lloyd-Weston [Port Vale]
Danny Andrews [Peterborough]
Keith Lowe [Hereford]
Steve Elliott [Bristol Rovers]
Martin Riley [Kidderminster]
JJ Melligan [Dundalk]
Frankie Artus [Bristol City]
Wesley Thomas [Dagenham & Redbridge]
Justin Richards [Port Vale]
Lee Ridley [Grimsby]
Shane Duff [Bradford]
Michael Townsend (Hereford)
Julian Alsop (Bishops Cleeve)
Barry Hayles
Scott Brown
David Hutton

Any major worries?
No actual worries, other than whether the club can improve on last season. A few fans have been getting a tad carried away, and I guess you do when you see such an overhaul. However, after last season’s unthinkable collapse, full of controversy off the pitch, we now have a settled squad, which is just missing a striker (a position which will be filled by John Akinde on a loan deal, I believe).

Who owns your club?
Paul Baker is the chairman, and he’s a great fan and servant to the club. Every club have their idiots and some have slated his ambition which is beyond a joke given the amount he has done financially. He also forecast a season of struggle where all of us fans became carried away and expected immediate promotion back to League 1. Needless to say, Baker knows best!

Likely starting XI on August 7th
Brown — Lowe, Riley, Elliot, Andrew — Pook, Artus, Low, Melligan — Thomas, Goulding

Your prediction
Middle of the road, and gladly so after some torrid times of late.

Maxi Hobbs,

Headline of the Summer
The flight from Saltergate to the new b2Net Stadium on the outskirts of town. Inevitable and good for the club’s long-term prospects though it is, the loss of another ground infused with character and club history has to be lamented.

Craig Davies (Brighton)
Simon Ford (Kilmarnock)
Jack Hunt (Huddersfield, loan)
Dwayne Mattis (Walsall)
Ian Morris (Scunthorpe United, loan)
Danny Whitaker (Oldham)
Martin Gritton (Torquay, loan)
Kevin Austin, Danny Boshell, Barry Conlon, Alan Goodall, Danny Hall, Paul Harsley, Lloyd Kerry, Terrell Lewis, Phil Picken, Adam Rundle, Simon Whaley (all released)

Any major worries?
A high turnover of players usually means a transition period at the beginning of the season while the newbies settle. Leading striker Jack Lester is 35 years old in October, and he missed a lot of games last season due to injury. Drew Talbot chipped in with 10 goals last season, but their team-mates must contribute more if the Spireites are to challenge.

Who owns the club?
The majority shareholder is former Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dave Allen, who still holds a small stake in the Owls.

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Lee – Hunt, Breckin, Ford, Morris – Talbot, Allott, Mattis, Whitaker – Lester, Davies

Stanley, the two unfortunates

Crewe Alexandra

Headline of the Summer
‘Gradi demands improvement’. After a highly disappointing 18th place finish last season, veteran manager Dario Gradi has said that everyone at the club needs to do much better this time around.

Lee Bell (Macclesfield)
Antoni Sarcevic (Woodley Sports)
David Artell (Morecambe)
Steve Phillips (Bristol R)
Rhys Taylor (Chelsea, loan)
Danny Blanchett (Peterborough)
Adam Dugdale (Telford)
James Bailey (Derby)
John Brayford (Derby)
Billy Jones (Exeter)
Adam Legzdins (Burton)

Any major worries?
After a disappointing season last time round, Dario Gradi must prove he still has what it takes to inspire the Alex; some indifferent pre-season performances suggests that much work still needs to be done.

Who owns the club?
The chairman is John Bowler, the Vice Chairman is Norman Hassall. Dario Gradi is one of seven directors.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-3-3: Taylor – Toole, Artell, Ada, Blanchard – Bell, Westwood, Murphy – Donaldson, Zola, Miller

Your prediction
An improved performance but still too inconsistent for the play-offs. Middle of the road.

scarf, the two unfortunates


Headline of the Summer
‘Hessenthaler returns to Gillingham’. Gills’ all-time legend Andy Hessenthaler returned to the club this summer as manager to revive spirits after the unpopular Mark Stimson left the club after two relegations in three seasons. Last season’s relegation was particularly galling, going down 3-0 at already-relegated Wycombe when we only needed a draw. We didn’t win a single away game in all competitions last year, and went down without a fight on the final day. Now Hessenthaler has arrived and lifted the spirits of the fans, the club and, from what I understand, the players, too.

Stefan Payne (Fulham)
Andy White (Reading)
Tony Sinclair (unattached)
Danny Spiller (unattached)
Lance Cronin (Ebbsfleet)
Cody McDonald (Norwich, loan)
Abebayo Akinfenwa (Northampton)
Simeon Jackson (Norwich)
Adam Miller (released)
Stuart Lewis (released)
Tom Wynter (released)
Simon Royce (Brentford)

Any major worries?
Only the nagging concern about the state of our finances, but that probably applies to most other clubs in the country at the moment. Most appear to have spent beyond their means, and Gillingham, who built a stand for £9m when it was budgeted for £3.9m, are no exception. Now the club no longer owns Priestfield Stadium as it was sold to reduce the club’s £14m debt. Now we “only” owe £3-4m, but have no collateral.

Who owns your club?
Chairman Paul Scally is the majority shareholder, but due to some poor decisions in the late 90s/early 2000s (see above) some might suggest all decisions are pretty much taken in agreement with the bank. Whether this is actually the case or not is unknown.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
Captain and right-back Barry Fuller is injured, as is winger Dennis Oli, so our XI may well look like this.

4-4-2: Julian – Payne, Nutter, Richards, Bentley – Spiller, Weston, Jackman, Barcham – McDonald, Rooney

Your prediction
Chasing the play-offs

Simon Head, Editor, Gills365

Hereford United

Headline of the Summer
End of one era, beginning of another. Graham Turner’s departed after 15 years’ hard graft to take over up the road at Shrewsbury, with a local businessman/former player in to run the show and former regional TV sports reporter to handle PR and media responsibilities. Oh, and a new manager too in Simon Davey. It’s all change!

Dan Connor (Cork City)
Janos Kovacs (Luton)
Michael Townsend (Cheltenham)
Stuart Fleetwood (Charlton)
Dan Stratford (Inverness)
Sean Canham (Notts County)
Sam Malsom (àžrà³ttur Reykjavà­k)
O’Neil Thompson (Barnsley)
Joe Colbeck (Oldham)
Samba Kanoute (Unattached)
Gavin McCallum (Lincoln)
Marc Pugh (Bournemouth)
Keith Lowe (Cheltenham)
Darren Jones (Aldershot)
Leon Constantine, Jamie Tolley, Edrissa Sonko, Matt Done, Chris Adamson, Lee Morris, Craig Jones, Joel Edwards (all released)

Any major worries?
Until Joe Colbeck’s arrival from Oldham a lack of width, but he has potentially gone a fair way to easing those worries, with one more winger still due in to complete the initial 20-man squad. We’ve lost last season’s top scorer (Pugh, a winger!) and our forward line, while young, quick and hungry, are yet to really establish themselves at Football League level.

Who owns your club?
See point 1, Turner replaced by David Keyte, who played for club’s reserves during 70s and is now a qualifed accountant. Aided by Tim Russon, former Central News TV sports reporter who covered Hereford/Oxford/Swindon. Very pleased with appointments, people who have club’s interests at heart and want to get the fans and community back on board – something that Turner had let fall by the wayside to a degree over the years.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-3-3: Bartlett – Green, Kovacs, Townsend, Valentine – Thompson, Lunt, McQuilkin – Fleetwood, Canham, Manset

Your prediction
Hopefully chasing the play-offs but would happily take middle of the road after last season saw us fretting about the drop for the majority of it. Almost all of Davey’s new signings have been on two-year deals, so he’s planning for a solid campaign allowing the team to mould together and be ready for a serious promotion charge in 2011/12 with the sprinkling of some new talent where necessary.

Greg Davies

Lincoln City

Headline of the Summer
‘Sutton Hopes to Avoid Season of Struggle’. After a difficult 2009/10 campaign where the Red Imps struggled a the foot of the table, Chris Sutton will hope that the experience he has brought in will help the side climb the table and have a more comfortable campaign this time around.

Joe Anyon (Port Vale)
Mustapha Carayol (Torquay)
Josh O’Keefe (Walsall)
Drewe Broughton (Rotherham)
Gavin McCallum (Hereford)
Albert Jarrett (Barnet)
Delroy Facey (Notts County)
Jamie Clapham (Notts County)
Richard Butcher (Macclesfield)
Lenell John-Lewis (Released)
Sam Clucas (Released)
Rob Burch (Notts County)
Paul Connor (Released)
Michael Gordon (Released)
Stefan Oakes (Released)
Danny Hone (Darlington, loan)

Any major worries?
Lincoln traditionally have one of the smallest budgets in the division. Having spent a little more money this time, bringing in established players like Delroy Facey and Jamie Clapham, the Imps cannot afford to struggle as badly as they did last time around.

Who owns the club?
Part-owned privately; part —owned by Lincoln City Supporters’ Trust.

Likely starting XI on August 7th
4-4-2: Anyon, Green, Clapham, Watts, Swaibu – Carayol, Kerr, O’Keefe, Jarrett – Broughton, Facey

Your prediction
A better season this time around — comfortably middle of the road.

scarf, the two unfortunates
See Part Two of the TTU 2010/11 League 2 Season Preview here.

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. Maxi Hobbs
    March 10, 2011

    Interesting reading back on these as everyone's ambitions change as the season progresses!


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