Are Yeovil Town on course for Football League return?
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When clubs are relegated from the Football League, expectations always follow that they'll be involved in the next season's promotion shake-up. Ask Wrexham, Chesterfield or York City fans how difficult it is to escape the National League. Indeed, York City made it out of the division but via relegation rather than promotion. Only two sides, Carlisle United and Bristol Rovers returned to the EFL at the first attempt and both required a successful playoff run.
An ability to adapt and accept it's now non-league football is crucial to survival for a club demoted from League Two. Thinking they can walk through the league is the first step in every presumptuous squad's downfall. Changes must be made on and off the pitch with equal importance attached to both. Players and supporters must realise non-league clubs will raise their game to play against a professional outfit. Three points must be earned on a weekly basis.
Like Notts County, Yeovil Town were expected to be in the promotion mix come season's end despite both clubs suffering turmoil during the close season. Long-standing Yeovil owner John Fry tried desperately to offload the club while newly-appointed manager Darren Sarll struggled to attract players to Huish Park.
Three defeats in the first six games left the Glovers well off the pace but an unbeaten September fired them back into contention. Rebounding from a mixed set of results through October and a winless November, Yeovil lurk three points off the top of the table with the busy Xmas and New Year period just around the corner. It's the perfect time to rediscover their best form.
Sarll worked wisely in the transfer market. Striker Rhys Murphy signed on in the West Country while others waited and missed out. Fifteen goals so far is a fantastic return on the faith shown by his manager. Others must wish they pursued the frontman more vigorously. Just as crucial as Murphy's goals was the experience that came with midfielder Charlie Lee. Also able to slot in at the back, Lee played 43 times last season for champions Leyton Orient. He knows what it takes to get teams over the line. When you add experienced goalkeepers Stuart Nelson and Liam O'Brien and scoring midfielders Jimmy Barnes and Miles Hippolyte, Sarll has the right mix to see the Glovers promoted at the first time of asking.
With no transfer window in the National League, Sarll can strengthen throughout the season's second half should he feel the need. He can also exploit the loan market and call in favours from past clubs, whatever it takes to make the difference throughout the year, not just for the final run-in.
Unlike previous years in the division, when one team powers away from the rest, no one looks likely this year. Glovers fans are within their rights to feel they're in with a very good chance to win the title or, at the very least, promotion. As too many clubs learned before them, nothing is a lock but Yeovil Town tick all the right boxes to get the job done.