Friday, 10 August 2012

2012/2013 League Two Preview
As with every campaign, respected pundits often attempt to forecast their predictions upon the upcoming season - often despite knowing nothing about the division. These predictions often entail Bradford finishing in the top seven and the likes of Accrington, Dagenham & Redbridge or Morecambe ending up in the Conference. They're usually wrong and end up with egg on their faces - but this season, could some of those stereotypical forecasts prove to be correct. Here on The Daggers Scale, I'll attempt to guide you through, club by club, key signing by key signing on the upcoming 2012-2013 season.

Accrington Stanley
Players In: Karl Sheppard, Aiden Chippendale, Michael Liddle, Luke Clark, Lewis Hatch, Aristote Nsiala, Bohan Dixon, Tom Eckersley, George Miller, James Gray, Marcus Carver, Ryan Hopper, Adam Stockdale, Ryan Watson (Loan.)

Players Out: Kevin McIntyre, Kurtis Guthrie, Danny Coid, Sean Murdoch, Alan Burton, Liam Willis, Sean Hessey, Ian Craney, Bryan Hughes.

I like Accrington as they're a club not too dissimilar to ours, however with the departure of long serving manager John Coleman to Rochdale at the back end of last season - I fear for them. They ended the last campaign with 14 points from 54 available and that's surely a poor sign, especially when you consider they've brought in largely youthful signings such as Lewis Hatch from Liverpool. Without a familiar manager and a youthful looking squad, I really see Stanley struggling towards the bottom of the table. If they want to stand a chance they need to make the Crown Ground into a fortress again and hope that Craig Lindfield has a successful season in front of goal. I'm afraid they're going to be in and around the relegation places for me.

AFC Wimbledon
Players In: Angus McDonald (Loan), Pim Balkenstein, Warren Cummings, Stacy Long, Curtis Osano, Louis Harris, Huw Johnson, Franie Merrifield, Jim Fenlon.

Players Out: Brett Johnson, Kieran Dijilali, Chris Bush, Gareth Gwillim, Reece Jones, Jack Turner, Jamie Stuart, Fraser Franks, Ricky Wellard, Sam Hatton, Ryan Jackson.

I can't say I'm particularly knowledgeable about Wimbledon, but what I do know is that they relied heavily on Jack Midson last season to score the goals. A shaky defence has been bolstered by the acquisition of giant Pim Balkenstein from Brentford & Warren Cummings from Bournemouth. I'm unsure as to where they'll finish the campaign, however I'll wager that it's near the bottom half. They're 5/1 to be relegated with Coral and if you ask me, that's worth a quid of anyone's money.

Aldershot Town
Players In: Craig Reid, Craig Stanley, Oliver Lancashire, Guy Branston, Anthony Tonkin, Troy Brown, Jordan Roberts, Harry Cooksey.

Players Out: Bradley Bubb (Loan), Max Worsfold, Anthony Straker, Manny Panther, Darren Jones, Wilko Risser.

Compared to other clubs Aldershot have been rather quiet in the transfer window, however with the signings of Troy Brown & Craig Reid in particular, combined with Guy Madjo & Danny Hylton who are already at the EBB, they could be in for an interesting season. The attacking options have been added to and the defence has been bolstered following the losses of Straker & Jones. Dean Holdworth turned down an approach by Crawley in the summer which suggests he must have some faith in his side. If they can keep their previously notoriously tough home record up, I think you may see the Shots mixing it near the Play off Area this season. Look out for Adam Mekki as well.

Players In: Jake Hyde, Jonathan Fortune, Jon Nurse, Freddie Warren, Oliver Lee, Ahmed Abdulla, Jordan Brown, Sam Cowler, Luke Gambin, Elliot Johnson.

Players Out: Sam Deering, Izale McLeod, Darren Dennehy, Alassane N'Diaye, Mark Hughes, Dean Brill, Sam Cox, Jordan Parkes.

Nou Underhill
New gaffer. New players. New philosophy. That's the main message Barnet are sending out to me for the coming campaign. Mark Robson wants to try and play "proper football" at Nou Underhill this season as the signings of ball players Ollie Lee & Ahmed Abdulla show. The danger they have is if it fails, these two midfielders may start to become anonymous in the game. A lack of defensive cover and the loss of McLeod & Deering mean they've gone from sharp to blunt up front - Ricky Holmes may relish the prospect of leading the line though. Barnet have rolled the dice and gambled, unfortunately though I think they may have finally lucked out. If it all does cave in, not even Martin Allen will be able to save them; and that really is saying something.

Bradford City
Players In: Nathan Doyle, Alan Connell, Stephen Darby, Garry Thompson, Will Atkinson, Gary Jones, Andrew Davies, Rory McArdle, James Meredith, Forrayah Bass, Adam Baker.

Players Out: Mark Stewart, Michael Flynn, Luke Dean, Marcel Seip, Andrew Burns, Scott Brown, Rob Kozluk, Lee Bullock, Chris Mitchell, Dave Syers, Guy Branston, Matt Fry, Craig Fagan, Simon Ramsden, Steve Williams.

If clubs are based on size, they wouldn't be in this division - however they're not and Bradford look odds on to remain here for another campaign. A massive turnover of players has seen 16 leave Valley Parade, including Seip, Fry & Craig Fagan. Alan Connell though has signed which is perhaps a sign of Phil Parkinson's intent - they also now have a midfield anchor in Gary Jones. I don't know what to expect, a Play Off push isn't out of the question if they can maintain good form throughout the season, but I just don't see it being their year...again.

Bristol Rovers
Players In: Garry Kenneth, David Clarkson, Rogvi Baldvinsson, Matthew Lund (loan), Seanan Clucas, Oliver Norburn, Conor Gough, Mitch Harding, Matt Macey, Jordan Goddard, Ross Staley, Shaquille Hunter, Ellis Harrison.

Players Out: Chris Zebroski, Mustapha Carayol, Charlie Reece, Craig Stanley, Lance Cronin, Darren Jefferies, Gary Sawyer, Scott McGleish, Charlie Clough, Lamar Powell, Kayne McLaggon, Byron Anthony, Michael Boateng.

Three weeks ago I would have guaranteed that Bristol Rovers would get a Play off spot come the end of April, now though I'm not so sure. They've lost a significant threat in Carayol to Middlesbrough and whilst McGhee has worked with David Clarkson at Motherwell, he doesn't look like the man to guide them to glory. They have significant strength in depth in all areas though and I reckon that might just be enough to clinch them a Play Off spot.

Burton Albion
Players In: Marcus Holness, Ross Atkins (Loan), Zander Diamond, Damien McCrory, Lee Bell, Dean Lyness, Robbie Weir, Evan Garnett.

Players Out: Andres Gurrieri, Adam Bolder, James Wren, Patrick Ada, Greg Pearson, Danny Blanchet, Ryan Austin, Bradley Munn, Tony James, Kevin Poole.

Billy Kee
Gary Rowett wants to base his side around a team effort rather than individuals and at the moment they're looking ok for a lower mid table finish. They have the necessary firepower in Zola, Pearson, Maghoma & Kee, whilst the threadbare defence has been added to with the acquisition of McCrory, Holness and most notably former Oldham centre half Zander Diamond. If they can all gel quickly I think they'll be pretty safe in mid table - don't rule out a possible relegation battle though.

Cheltenham Town
Players In: Shaun Harrad (Loan), Chris Zebroski, Billy Jones, Sam Deering.

Players Out: Andy Gallinagha, Theo Lewis, Luke Summerfield, Brian Smikle, Josh Low, Steve Book.

They've been quiet in the transfer window; however they've probably done some of the best pieces of business in the division. They've added fire power in Harrad and some much needed wing flair in Deering from Barnet & Zebroski from Bristol Rovers who should thrive in a creative team. With key players such as McGlashan & Marlon Pack remaining at the club, they should still have the drive of last season to go one better and get promoted. If they don't end up in the Play Offs by the end of this season at the very least, I think that Mark Yates will view it as a failed season.

Players In: Sam Togwell, Sam Hird, Marc Richards, Richard O'Donnell, Terrell Forbes, Jacob Hazel.

Players Out: Simon Ford, Greg Fleming, Aaron Downes, Derek Niven, Jamie Lowry, Gregor Robertson, Jimmy Juan, Noel Mendy, Matt Needham, Dan Gray, Dean Morgan.

Chesterfield are the first of the relegated clubs to be featured and I imagine they'll be fancying their chances for an immediate return to the third tier. A major problem for them last season was conceding soft goals; John Sheridan will hope to address that having added Sam Hird & Sam Togwell to his defensive unit. The experience of forward Jack Lester will be imperative and will provide a good alias for the main man, Jordan Bowery who is expected to lead the line this year alongside Marc Richards who recently signed from Port Vale. They may not win the league like they did in the 2010/2011 season, but they should linger in and around the Play Off's for the majority of the season.

Dagenham & Redbridge
Players In: Gavin Hoyte, Louis Dennis, Tommy Davie, Andrew Burns.

Players Out: Jon Nurse, Adam Cunnington, Gavin Tomlin, Mark Arber, Peter Gain, Phil Walsh, Jon-Jo Bates, Damien McCrory, Ahmed Abdulla, Richard Rose, Alex Osborn (Loan.)

The Daggers will be looking to kick on from a disappointing last campaign that was riddled with injuries into a more mid table finish or a possible Play Off push. Despite losing some experience down the spine, the Daggers still have good strength in depth in all areas thanks to the signings of Gavin Hoyte & Andrew Burns. The main men will undoubtedly be Abu Ogogo, Mickey Spillane, Luke Howell & Brian Woodall, whilst 42 goal BSN striker Dwight Gayle will be pushing for a starting place. It's not implausible that the Daggers will be in a relegation scrap, however I'm more inclined to think we're in for a comfortable mid table season under the continued stewardship of John Still.

Exeter City
Players In: Jamie Cureton, Matt Oakley, Craig Woodman, Tommy Doherty, Aaron Davies, Kevin Amankwaah, Rhys Evans, Pat Baldwin, Alan Gow.

Players Out: Jonathan Fortune, David Noble, Billy Jones, Richard Duffy, Richard Logan, Daniel Nardiello, Luke O'Brien, Chris Shephard, Callum McNish, Lenny Pidgeley, Jake Gosling, Troy Archibald-Henville, James Dunne.

Exeter have lost a lot of notable players over the summer and unfortunately haven't strengthened as much as they'd probably have liked to have done. In a sense they've replaced a lot of good players with average ones, however Jamie Cureton is very capable of smashing a few goals in whilst Matt Oakley has good experience having spent the previous four years at Leicester City. In my eyes they have an average side and that will probably be reflected in the league - mid table finish for me.

Fleetwood Town
Players In: Youl Mawene, David Ball, Conor McLaughlin, Barry Nicholson, Damien Johnson, Chris Maxwell, Jon Parkin, Gerard Kinsella, Dean Howell, Kieran Charnock, Alex Titchiner, Steven Gillespie, Jamie Allen.

Players Out: Keith Briggs, Peter Till, Gareth Seddon, Jamie Vardy, Magno Viera, Paul Linwood, Matt Flynn, Stefan Cox, Sean Clancy, Joe Camozzi, Matty Hughes, Paul Edwards, Peter Cavanagh, Jack Duggan.

This seasons moneybag outfit and realistically should go straight up into League One. They have one of the strongest forward lines in the division having signed Jon Parkin & Keith Gillespie who are both League One standard. The defence has also been strengthened whilst the midfield has plenty of flair and attacking presence thanks to David Ball. Despite the loss of top scorer Jamie Vardy to Leicester, they should still manage to get a Play Off spot at the very least - a failure to do so would be a failed season in my book.

Players In: Tom Flanagan (Loan), Ben Strevens, Charlie Allen (Insert laugh here), Stuart Nelson, Tommy Forecast (Loan), Nathan Nyafli, Joe Carter.

Players Out: Simon King, Paulo Gazzaniga, Dennis Oli, Danny Spiller, Dean Rance, Curtis Weston, Jo Kuffour, Garry Richards, Matt Lawrence.

Martin Allen Circa 2004.
*Captions welcome*
Gillingham will be looking to break away from their traditional 8th place finish this season, but they may find it hard with several previously key players being shipped out. One of the biggest blows is undoubtedly Gazzaniga who was recently bought by Southampton. They may not challenge for automatic promotion, but the Play Offs is a definite possibility providing they tighten up the defence. One thing is for sure though, with Martin Allen in charge, Gillingham are definitely the club to watch.

Players In: Richard Brodie (Loan), Andrew Wright, Jamie Short, Robbie Threlfall, Chris Doyle, Andreas Arestidou.

Players Out: Garry Hunter, Sean Breen, Kieran Charnock, Laurence Wilson, Niall Cowperthwaite, Joe Culshaw, Phil Jevons.

Morecambe are notorious for starting poorly and then going on a magnificent run that surprises everyone but themselves, I get the feeling that's what they'll need to do to stay in League Two again this year. Richard Brodie will be looking to prove himself alongside Kevin Ellison & Danny Carlton - whilst they've added some midfield creativity in Andrew Wright. If they stop gifting team’s points and make The Globe tougher to visit, something they've failed to do in the previous two seasons, Jim Bentley's men may surprise a few people.

Northampton Town
Players In: Joe Widdowson, Chris Hackett, Ishmel Demontagnac, Alex Nicholls, Clive Platt, Lee Nicholls (Loan), Henoc Mukendi (Loan.)

Players Out: Neal Kitson, Ryan Gilligan, Freddy Hall, Aaron Davies, Byron Webster, Lewis Young, Michael Jacobs, Nathaniel Wedderburn, Jason Crowe, Andy Holt, Tadgh Purcell, Michael Built.

With the squad that Aidy Boothroyd has at his disposal, I'd be expecting them to mount a push for the play offs after a disappointing last campaign. Despite losing key figures such as Michael Jacobs, Clark Carlisle & Toni Silva, they've added well with Demontagnac & Alex Nicholls who should complement Akinfenwa well up front. Part of their problem, like a lot of teams was their home defence, ranking 24th for the amount of goals conceded in the league at Sixfields - so they'll be hoping to stem that with some defensive signings.

Oxford United
Players In: Lee Cox (Loan), Sean McGinty (Loan), Jake Forster-Casey (Loan), Michael Raynes, Sean Rigg, Max Crocombe, Tyrone Marsh.

Players Out: Mark Wilson, Aaron Woodley, Paul McLaren, Matthew Fletcher, Oli Johnson, Anthony Tonkin, Asa Hall.

Every season Oxford are expected to challenge and this year will be no different - with the majority of last season’s impressive performers such as Peter Leven & Michael Duberry being added to by the likes of Sean Rigg & Michael Raynes who can add something extra. If they can score more goals away from home and continue to look solid at the back, I see no problems with a 7th placed finish or higher for Chris Wilder's men.

Plymouth Argyle
Players In: Andres Gurrieri, Jamie Lowry, Rene Gilmartin, Paris Cowan-Hall, Jed Harper-Penman.

Players Out: Simon Walton, Carl Fletcher, Luke Daley, Damien Johnson, Jordan Pearce, Roman Larrieu.

After years of turmoil and toiling at the bottom end of several different leagues, a nice steady season should do Plymouth and the Home Park faithful the world of good. With little activity in the transfer market and Simon Walton heading to Hartlepool, the best the Green Army can hope for is an outside chance of a Play Off spot if you ask me. Look out for Maxime Blanchard though who has turned a few heads and don't be surprised if a flurry of loan signings come through the door before the end of August.

Port Vale
Players In: Dave Artell, Chris Neal, Richard Duffy, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Darren Murphy, Ben Williamson, Ryan Lloyd.

Players Out: Chris Martin, Paul Marshall, Marc Richards, Anthony Griffith, Phil Roe, Sean Rigg, Lee Collins, Stuart Tomlinson.

Vale have suffered in the transfer window with the loss of three key individuals, however with the key signings of Dave Artell, Myrie-Williams & Ashley Vincent, all may not be lost. They have a solid enough defence and a decent midfield, but without Marc Richards leading the line you wonder if they could be short of goals at vital times in the season. Expect an upper mid table finish from Vale with a long shot chance to reach the Play Off's.

Players In: Matthew Pearson, Joe Rafferty, Ryan Edwards (Loan), Kevin McIntyre, Josh Lillis, Peter Cavangh, Rhys Bennett, George Donnelly, Sam Minihan, Luke Watson, Dele Adebola.

Players Out: Stephen Jordan, Joe Thompson, Jordan Fagbola, Marcus Holness, Dean Holden, David Lucas, Joe Widdowson, Kevin Amankwaah, Marc Twaddle, Gary Jones, Danny Taberner, Jean Louis-Akpa Akpro, Simon Hackney, Nicky Adams.

No more Gary Jones at Spotland
With some key players having left the club such as record appearance holder Gary Jones, this season looks likely to be a rebuilding job for John Coleman who will complete his first full season in charge. The signing of Dele Adebola is sure to impress fans as to the clubs intent, but experienced players already at the club such as Jason Kennedy are sure to be vital in helping the mass of new boys settle in. Expect a comfortable mid table finishing position as Coleman gets to grips with his squad.

Rotherham United
Players In: Kieran Agard, David Noble, Michael O'Connor, Kayode Odejayi, Ian Sharps, Scott Shearer, Laurence Wilson, Daniel Nardiello, Nicky Hunt, Kari Arnason, Lionel Ainsworth, Mitchell Rose, Alec Denton.

Players Out: Jamie Annerson, Michael Raynes, Marcus Marshall, Ryan Cresswell, Ollie Banks, Danny Harrison, Luke Foster, Troy Brown, Tom Newey, Lewis Grabban, Paul Warne, Richard Naylor.

They've signed the players and now it's just a question of whether they can deliver the automatic promotion that looks like a certainty. The defence has been shored up by Ian Sharps, the midfield by David Noble & Lionel Ainsworth and the forward line by Agard & Nardiello. The only question that remains is that, can the crook Evans get them to perform as a team throughout the season. They're favourites to win the division for a reason you know...lump on!

Southend United
Players In: Freddy Eastwood, Ryan Cresswell, Anthony Straker, Gavin Tomlin, Kevan Hurst, Rhys Taylor, Elliot Benyon.

Players Out: Merrick James-Lewis, Lee Sawyer, Blair Sturrock, Anthony Flood, Teddy Nesbitt, Anthony Grant, Jean-Pail Kalala, Glenn Morris, Harry Crawford, Kyle Asante, George Smith, James Stevens, Pat Baldwin, Matt Peaterson, Christian Dailly, Liam Dickinson.

On paper, Paul Sturrock's men are one of the strongest sides in the division. They possess all of the attributes that are needed to get out of the league and then some. With one of the strongest and probably the most creative midfields in the league they're not short of suppliers for the forwards. If they don't manage to get automatic promotion I'll be very surprised, especially with a possible trio of Freddy Eastwood, Neil Harris & Elliot Benyon leading the line.

Torquay United
Players In: Aaron Downes, Billy Bodin, Michael Poke, Ryan Jarvis, Thomas Cruise, Niall Thompson, Craig Easton, Kyrtis MacKenzie.

Players Out: Eunan O'Kane, Chris McPhee, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Bobby Olejnik, Ray Spear, Taiwo Atieno, Mark Ellis.

Despite the signing of Tom Cruise, don't expect Martin Ling's boys to be the "Top Guns" in the division this year. With a mid table finish looking likely following the exit of star players Olejnik & O'Kane - new blood in Cruise, Easton & Billy Bodin will do well to get the Gulls into Play Off contention for the third consecutive season. One thing that they excelled at last season was grinding out 1-0 wins, if they can do that again this year, who knows. It may be a tough ask, but it's certainly not mission impossible just yet.

Wycombe Wanderers
Players In: Sam Wood, Richard Logan, Matthew Spring, Lee Angol, Dennis Oli, Gary Doherty, Georges Ehui, Emmanuel Ighorae, Olly Taylor, Max Kretzschmar, Junior Morias, Kortney Hause.

Players Out: Ben Strevens, Steve Arnold, Anthony McNamee, James Tunnicliffe, John Halls, Scott Rendell.

Despite having a notable transfer embargo in place for a short period, Wycombe still look as though they'll be Play Off contenders at the least for the coming campaign. The traditional yo-yo club have held on to top scorer Stuart Beavon who notched 21 last season, which is imperative if they want to make a swift return to the third tier. Expect plenty of creativity mixed with grit and determination as Sam Wood returns to a London club, whilst you always know what you're getting with Gareth Ainsworth.

York City
Players In: Jonathan Smith, Danny Blanchett, Michael Coulson, Oli Johnson, John McReady, Lee Bullock, Reece Kelly, Ben White, Tom Platt.

Players Out: Adriano Moke, Moses Ashikodi, Scott Brown, Eugen Bopp, Matthew Blinkhorn, Ben Swallow, James Meredith, Danny Pilkington.
The Minstermen make a return to the Football League after an absence of eight years and I reckon they'll be here to stay for a little longer than a season. I imagine they'll finish the season in mid table after an early season battle with the relegation zone as they get back to grips with the Football League. Players like Matty Blair, Jason Walker & Jon Challinor will need to step up to the plate if they want to secure safety and, make a possible push for the Play Offs as so many newly promoted teams do.

That's my 2012/2013 preview - packed full of awful puns and analysis that you probably don't agree with, and why should you, you know your club better than I do! Whatever happens it promises to be another enthralling, pulsating and exciting season, with more clubs vying for promotion than ever before.

Hopefully you'll check back onto my Blog and look for your match report whenever the Daggers face you! Also a little note, "players in" included youth team players that have been awarded contracts with the first team.

Remember to follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy.


  1. You may want to do some more research on Bradford. Bass and Baker were already here as youth players and Brown has not left, he's an up coming young Scottish lad!

  2. Apologies! The site I use to document the transfers couldn't have been up to date.

  3. has m.allen just seen s.evans wage packet??

  4. It is never easy doing these types of previews as the division doesn't get much coverage or exposure. I think you have done a very decent job of it!