Tuesday, 26 July 2011

League 2 season preview - part one

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 one (of four):

Mel – Twitter
“I think we will finish mid table at least. Although I still think we could do another push but will play safe.
Key players: Winnard, Coid and Barnett.
Looking forward to the local derbies, although not many this season. Games to look forward to: Morecambe & Macclesfield; as well as AFC Wimbledon, Port Vale, Torquay & Bradford. Not looking forward to playing Crawley.
We've started from scratch, but as always Coleman can turn nobodies into football players; no ownership battles this season is a plus. Hoping for decent referees this season, ones who keep the flow, keep on pitch & have decent eyesight - yes it may appear a bias whinge but this has been a big blight on our promotion pushes”.
Matt Griffin – Twitter
“Our manager seems to have made it clear that getting the 50 points to ensure survival is the priority. Anything else would be a bonus for us in our first season back in the football league, although I don’t think a mid-table finish would disappoint or surprise many fans.
Again we’re strong at the back, with Dons fan and playoff final hero Seb Brown between the sticks. New captain Jamie Stuart is enjoyable to watch and alongside him in defence is steady defender Brett Johnson who’s also likely to get a few goals. There are also a couple of youngsters worth keeping an eye on in Reece Jones and Brendan Kiernan.
Looking forward to a couple of decent London derbies again – the long trips across town to Dagenham and Barnet. Also personally wouldn’t mind stuffing Creepy Crawley.
Can’t wait for the new season to start. Just 9 years ago we were in the Combined Counties League so looking forward to some more great memories and fun away days out for this strange little SW London club”.
Laura Chiverton – Twitter
“Realistically I think this league will be fairly tough. I would like to think we will make the playoffs. The team has looked incredibly strong during pre season & are looking as strong as the end of last season.
Adam Mekki & Alex Rodman are the players to look out for and are both great players from Conference roots. Bradley Bubbs scored 40 goals last season & has set a target for this season’s campaign.
I’m looking forward to playing AFC Wimbledon. Terry Brown, our former manager was a true legend & gent. He left the club to care for his terminally ill wife before Waddock led us to promotion as champions.
I’m hoping that all clubs this season will spend & budget more wisely to ensure their football league status”.
Ben Kentish – Twitter
“Who knows how we’ll fare this season! We've got what is on paper the best manager and backroom team we've had in quite a while, and we've kept most of the squad that played so well at the end of last season, but as ever with Barnet it's impossible to predict. I'd say lower mid-table has to be the minimum aim, and with a few more good signings and a bit of luck with injuries etc, a play-off push is a definite possibility.
Mark Marshall is probably the biggest threat to defenders, but new signings Mark Byrne and Sam Deering are both pretty skillful and will set up a fair few goals, plus score a few themselves I would imagine. McLeod and Kabba (when fit) up front must on their day be one of the best strike partnerships in the league, and in defence we've got a couple of good, solid centre-backs. We've actually got the backings of a pretty good side. 
For some reason I'm quite looking forward to playing AFC Wimbledon. It's a shame we've lost the Stevenage derby for this season, although I'm sure we'll be playing them against next year! But Pompey away in the Carling Cup should be a good one”.

Tim Roche – Twitter
“After the debacle of last season, when the hapless Peter Taylor very nearly led City into non-league, a mid-table finish would represent an improvement. New boss Peter Jackson has brought in a varied selection of youngsters and a couple of more experienced heads, so while the play-offs may just be beyond us in what is likely to be a transitional season, a finish of 9th place would be acceptable. This being our 4th season in League 2, our fans are now more accustomed to the reality that promotion might not always be a realistic target.
 Ross Hannah banged in a staggering 52 goals for Matlock Town last season, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in the step up to League 2 football. Mark Stewart, a striker from Falkirk, has also looked impressive in pre-season so City will be very hopeful of improving on last term’s dismal goals scored tally. Of the youngsters we have signed, the 16 year old Scott Brown from Clyde looks to be the most exciting prospect. Although he was brought in with the newly formed Development Squad in mind initially, there is every chance we will see him in the first team sooner rather than later as Jackson rates him as the ‘one of the best 16 years olds (he has) seen in a long time’. No pressure then!
 With the majority of League 2 teams being southern-based there will be some lengthy away trips for the City faithful. AFC Wimbledon should be a particular highlight, as away days in the capital are always fun and it’s a new ground to visit. There’s also the Carling Cup tie away to our dear friends Leeds United to look forward to in the first week of the season – it would be nice to get one over on them, especially as the game will be live on Sky”.
Richard Crew – Twitter
“As it’s Bristol Rovers first Season back in League Two it’s hard to tell, but pre-season has gone well and I've got a lot of confidence in Mr Buckles ability. The signings we've made appear to be sound and the vibes coming out are positive so I have a sneaky suspicion we'll make the play-offs or better if everything gels quickly.
Gill, Zebroski, Virgo, Carayol and McGleish will be the key figures to look out for. I believe we'll be a team that entertains; Mr Buckle has an eye for attacking football judging by the signings and tactics he's employed so far.
AFC Wimbledon stands out for me as the big one, not because of any rivalry but simply because of Wimbledon’s history. I feel it’s an honour to be the club they play first on their League return. I hope it’s a classic for the present Sky Cameras. Of course the Derby games against Swindon, Hereford, Cheltenham and Torquay will hold some added spice as well”.

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