Friday, 29 July 2011

League 2 season preview - part four

I thought I’d do something a little different and after completing the Twitter92 a month or so ago, I thought it’d be apt to see what my fellow League 2 supporters thought about their aspirations and expectations for their teams in the coming season. Here is part four (of four):

Josh Green – Twitter
“I can see another bumpy season ahead at Vale Park! With all the off the pitch aggro we will be lucky to stay in the top half as everyone need to pull together for a promotion push and I can't see that happening any time soon. With attendances dropping ( and increased pressure on the board all of this will overshadow anything that happens on the pitch!
Look out for John McCombe! Took pretty much every club award last season and I have every faith that he will do it again. With us not having much fire power our defence will have to be on top form once again.
I would say Crawley first game as this should give a glimpse of what we can expect this season not only with new players but with attendances/protests. Other than that Crewe and Shrewsbury are always tasty games as for some reason they seem to hate us.
With Micky back who knows what could happen over the next 46 games but it won’t be short of ups and downs. Enjoy the new season of Emmervale! V2001 OUT”.    
Rotherham United     
Gareth Simmons – TwitterBlog
 “In all honesty, I really don’t know. It’s going to go one of two ways. We’re either going to be really good and be challenging for promotion, or, it’s not going to work and we’ll end up in the bottom third. This is due to the complete overhaul we’ve had this summer both with the backroom staff and playing staff. Also, we’re still two signing away from challenging for promotion.
From the games I’ve seen so far it has to be Lewis Grabban. He’s got a touch of pace, a trick or two and seems to have an eye for goal. He’ll certainly trouble opposition defenders and with the right partner, we could have a good strike force on our hands.
Not really got any games to look forward to, sadly. After Chesterfield went up our closest game is Bradford. Burton away is always a good day out, and obviously, I look forward to the game that will hopefully send us up, if we’re going to be challenging.
If Andy Scott can get two more signings, especially a big target man, then it could end up being a good season. Looking at our squad now, we just seem to lack a physical presence and some height. Another centre back wouldn’t go a miss as well as a left back. Then we could possibly be talking about promotion”.

 Steve Bradford – Twitter
“I think this season will produce a similar finishing position to the last (4th), however I feel this will be our year to succeed in the play offs and gain promotion to League 1. The last few years we have suffered some bad lack with the Gillingham play off final winner in 2009 coming from a corner that never was in the 90th minute and last season’s phantom goal by Wycombe which went on to cost us an automatic spot. I feel lady luck may just be on our side this season and all will end on a high.
We have the ever reliable centre backs of Ian Sharps and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, but new signing Reuben Hazel won’t have dropped a league to sit on the bench so competition for places is high. I think this year in midfield Sean McAllister and Lionel Ainsworth will offer us more than they did last season, they both will have had a full pre season behind them and providing they keep fit I feel they will create a lot of chances. These chances will hopefully be converted by new signing Marvin Morgan who in my opinion is an improvement on Matt Harrold who we have sold to Bristol Rovers. James Collins, another new signing Terry Gornell from Accrington and promising youngster Tom Bradshaw will be fighting for a the remaining place alongside Marvin Morgan.
One game I was looking forward to before the fixtures were announced was AFC Wimbledon away as I have great respect for what they have achieved in such a short space of time. Hereford away is always one I look forward to as it’s an easy 3 points for us. Weekenders are possibly Southend in September and Plymouth in March next year. As well as grounds I have not yet visited which I want to knock off this year: Derby County (League Cup), Gillingham, Bristol Rovers, Southend, Crawley Town, Swindon Town and Plymouth.
Tom Ross – Twitter
“Anything less than promotion in my (and the rest of the Southend fans) eyes would be a failure we have a good squad which have jelled well during the last 12 months after everything that happened last season.
Ryan Hall and Jemal Johnson on the wings and Barry Corr and Neil Harris upfront banging in the goals are players to look out for. Alassane N'Diaye looks a beast with no-one getting past him. Kane Ferdinand cousin of Rio came in from the youth teams at the beginning of 2011 and has made the defensive-mid position his. And cannot forget about the defensive tank that is Bilel Mohsni, a bit of a loose cannon but when on form he is unstoppable! And can do a decent job upfront.
Looking forward to all of our games, most notably our local-ish games as once again not playing Colchester: Orient in the cup, Crawley, Wimbledon, Barnet and Gillingham”.
James Spencer – Twitter
“A few weeks ago when we hardly had a team I would have said we’d finish mid table at best but now we have signed a few quality players and done well in a few pre-season games I think we will certainly be challenging in the top 3.
I think Matt Richie, Paul Caddis, Jonathan Smith and also Alan Connell will be key for us this season.
It’s been a long while since we played Oxford so that comes about quite soon in late August – definitely one to look forward to; as well as the League cup game against Bristol City, which should be good”.
Andy Charles – Twitter
“If you had asked a couple of weeks or a month ago I'd have struggled to find much positive to say. The appointment of Martin Ling was met with derision and we lost the heart of our team from last year (Bevan, Branston, Stanley, Zebroski) but pre-season and Ling's signings have changed all of that. Suddenly from being told we were looking a value price to be relegated we have pundits claiming we could repeat last year's play-off run. I'm looking forward to it now but we have a really tough start to the season so that will probably tell us everything we need to know.
Eunan O'Kane, now seemingly established in a central midfield role, has the ability to play much higher than League Two. He's been linked with a few Championship sides already and our worry is that we don't get to see much of him this season. Hopefully long enough to make an impact at least. The rest are all new boys, ones we are looking forward to see build a heart to the team. Keeper Bobby Olejnik is an Austria U21 international, Brian Saah has it to prove in the league all over again and striker Rene Howe can hopefully build a career now he is with a team that actually wants him unlike Peterborough. Most exciting signing is probably Ian Morris - a proper left-winger with a left-foot, something we haven't had in a decade. Look out for youngster Saul Halpin as well - real prospect who went for a trial with Derby last year and scored a hat-trick in his only game for their reserves.
Bristol Rovers home and away will be interesting to say the least after former manager Paul Buckle's questionable departure this summer - fair to say the fans do not like him a lot these days. Crawley because we just don't like them or their managerial staff and Plymouth because of the local factor. Hard to say we are actually rivals because we've played each other so infrequently - I just hope they don't go out of business before then which would be a tragedy for their fans. And personally, Barnet because it's nice and local for me and a lovely club to visit.
I'm just hoping the 'dark siders' we have among our support give Martin Ling and the new players a chance to build into a team. It's tough having so many new faces around at the same time after four seasons of almost complete stability and some of the signings (Chris McPhee, Martin Rice) returning to the club have been met with a mixture of laughter and disgust. And anyone hoping to come to Torquay as an away fan and sit down will be unlucky - our creaking main stand is being demolished and replaced with something bright and shiny - won't be ready until February at the earliest, meaning it's standing room only for visitors”.

And I would like to take this opportunity to thank all 24 fans for their input – it is much appreciated. Hopefully I’ll get to meet a couple of them (as well seeing a few familiar faces again) this season.
Read their blogs, follow them etc.

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