Pre Season predictions

January 1, 2000

There are a few weeks to go until the transfer window closes, and the emergency loan system kicks in.

We then have the January window for clubs to take stock and to strengthen, or adjust, their finances as they see fit. Generally speaking, though, most clubs in League Two have players in place that will see them through the season, and so pre season predictions can be based on the here and now by the popular website pundits.

I’ve looked at FootballFanCast.com Twohundredpercent.com and FourFourTwo. com to summarize the independent thoughts of those who pretend to know these things what’s going to happen come the end of the season.

1 left my final search as late as possible and took Thursday 4th August for my prediction snapshot. FourFourTwo news editor Gregg Davies oversaw an extensive piece after chewing over the fat with Sky Sports Jeff Stelling, amongst others. This is Gregg’s introduction:

“The rise of cash rich Crawley Town, coupled with the descent of South West duo Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town means that, before a competitive ball has been kicked, there are a plethora of sides eyeing automatic promotion places, let alone play off spots.

“However, while the top end of the tabli should be so keenly contested, it leaves more than half of the division – possessing only a smidgen of the budget of some of their wealthier counterparts – already considering a mid table finish a realistic ambition.

“Whereas in recent years the likes of Aldershot Town, Accrington Stanley, Dagenham & Redbridge, Hereford United, Morecambe and Stevenage have surprisec many by snaking up the division to snatch at least a play off place, 2011/12 looks, on paper at least, a tough territory for the underdog to have its day.”astening season.

This is where Gregg sees the Title Challengers. Crawley Town, he says, look well placed to mount a second successive title tilt. He says that finding the net should not be a problem for the League newcomers. 37 goal Matt Tubbs has been joined by Tyrone Barnett, John Akinde and Wes Thomas, while 19 year old former Everton midfielder Hope Akpan has been added to an already strong midfield. So there you are then; we shall see.

Gregg’s other tips for top spot are Bristol Rovers, Swindon Town, Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town. About us he says:

“Paul Buckle steadily assembled a squad that will be expected to seal promotion at the first time of asking. Former Culls Scott Bevan and Chris Zebroski, and ex Torquay loanee Craig Stanley, have followed Buckle to the Memorial Stadium, where they have been joined by former Brighton defender Adam Virgo, Shrewsbury front man Matt Harold and talented wide men Mustapha Carayol and Joe Anyinsah.”

Very true Cregg and, in addition, the manager has brought in a couple of decent full backs, a midfield general from Norwich and a proven goalscorer from East London.

As far as outsiders are concerned FourFourTwo include Port Vale, Rotherharn, Gillingham and Northampton. West Country rivals Torquay and Cheltenham are predicted for mid table positions whilst troubled Plymouth are amongst the so called Drop Dodgers. The final prediction table really pins things down. Champions Oxford United followed by Bristol Rovers in second and Crawley in third. Bottom of the pile come yo yo Barnet and Macclesfield also relegated. I think most Rovers fans would like top spot, but would take second and automatic promotion at this stage. Thank you, FourFourTwo.

Bit of a different take from Two hundred percent. As far as promotion contenders are concerned they reckon:

“New Bristol Rovers manager Paul Buckle has gone for a clean sweep as he tries to take the Pirates up and has made signmgs all over the side.”

That view will be shared by most Rovers fans. The site continues “the biggest problem may be the sguad learning to play as a team, but League Two is usually a division where you can afford to lose games, and Rovers should return to League One at the first attempt.”

Twohundredpercent are also going for Gillingham, Rotherham United and Shrewsbury Town. Personally I would be very pleased for Darren Patterson, at Rotherham. He called the Chairman, myself, and other Board members to say that he really wanted us to do well this season and we wish him all the best. Interestingly, and surprisingly perhaps, the site are going for Aldershot and The Daggers to join Crawly in the play off places. It’s all down to opinions, of course, but they also include Plymouth for the dreaded drop along with Burton and Hereford.

FootballFanCast ask; “Can anybody stop Crawley Town” The firm favorites to win promotion in theirview. They reckon bringing in striker Chris Zebroski from the Culls and Scott McGleish from Orient shows the sort of intent the club (Bristol Rovers) has to return at the first time of asking. Excuse me, only those two? I take the point, though. They also put Shrewsbury Town up there with dark horses Swindon Town, Crewe, Northampton Town and Bradford City.

To summarise, these sites put Bristol Rovers at the top end (let’s hope so) and Plymouth at the other (I do hope not), but remember, it’s a funny old game!

 

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