The BBC cover the football league dedicating a show to all of the action every Saturday evening, often continuing broadcasting until an ungodly hour where I find myself watching ‘highlights’ of Hereford and Stockports 0-0 draw through bleary eyes. Last years league 2 was a slightly drab and fetid affair with only the odd 7-4 scoreline causing the odd raise of an eyebrow.
Whether it was the quality of the team, the managers, the players who really knows? But one thing you can bet your bottom biscuit on is that the 2011/12 season is going to be an entertaining battle for promotion.
Many fans argue that Stevenage’s promotion was undeserved underpinning the lack of quality within the remainder of the division. This year is going to tight, it’s going to go right down to the wire and all other cliches which mean exactly the same thing!
Bristol Rovers are amongst the favourites and today have wrapped up their twelfth signing of the summer season. Similar to Charlton (see previous blog entry) with an abundance of new names and faces, they will have to gel quickly to avoid a stuttering start to the campaign. Paul Buckle defected from Torquay and he is experienced at this level but failed at the final furlong when in charge of the Gulls last season. Scott McGleish will score goals at this level and he will partner Chris Zebroski (signed from Torquay) up front. Matt Harrold joins the ranks from Shrewsbury and pace is provided in midfield from Mustapha Carayol and Joe Anyinsah. Throw in Gillingham keeper Lance Cronin and former QPR defender Lee Brown and you have a competent club at this level.
Crawley have the money to splash around and are bound to be in the mix at the end of the season. Gillingham have made some astute signings in the last month, Charlie Lee, Chris Whelpdale and Danny Kedwell being the pick of the bunch, the latter scoring for fun in the Blue Square Premier last season. The Northampton board expect Gary Johnson to deliver promotion this season and with signings such as Jake Robinson, Ben Tozer and Aaron Davis, they are going to be too powerful for many opponents this season.
Swindon are an unknown force under Paolo Di Canio, but the noises coming from the County Ground seem to be positive ones and Joe Devera will be much missed by Barnet fans. If the players show the tenacity of the boss (minus the assualting of the officials) they will in the play off picture. Rotherham show great intent, but often tail off mid-season, bolstering their ranks with Millwalls Danny Schofield is a step in the right direction. A cracking addition to any squad and if he is allowed the space to splay passes around, they will create chances and inevitably score a few goals along the way.
Meanwhile Oxford are highly tipped and Michael Duberry should keep things tight at the back with Dean Smalley applying some skill and prowess they will be able to compete with anyone on their day.
Having missed out on a play off final, Shrewsbury will be looking to make amends this season. Marvin Morgan will score goals, Reuben Hazell offers experience and a cool head whilst they have raided Accrington for Joe Jacobsen and Terry Gornell (Pending as I write) Meanwhile, Southend have signed Neil Harris which for me is the signing of the pre-season in league 2.
Throw into the equation the potential for surprise packages of the season such as Aldershot and AFC Wimbledon and if Martin Ling can rebuild his Torquay squad they will be challenging. All in all, it’s shaping to an exciting ten months of football.