The Sky Bet League Two season is done and dusted, sides are promoted, teams are relegated, and the transfer window is beginning to pick up the pace.
Despite the fact a potential £1.5 million salary cap looks to be taking place, with a decision set to be made in the coming weeks as clubs continue to vote, newly relegated Bolton Wanderers have been bringing in big name signings such as Antoni Sarcevic and Eoin Doyle, Mansfield Town welcoming the likes of Jamie Reid and Ollie Clarke and even the wealth of Salford City glistening as ex-Preston captain Tom Clarke was revealed at the Peninsula Stadium earlier on in the week.
Then there are the likes of Bradford City, who have confirmed to their fan base that they will be playing it safe as they are already £1.2 million over the potential new cap, signing former players, like Billy Clarke and Dylan Mottley-Henry in the hopes of avoiding any future financial crisis that could leave the Bantams in a position similar to Macclesfield Town.
With the clear current ripple between the stature and status of teams in League Two, its clear that most incomings will undoubtedly be free agents to avoid any compensation fee or transfer bidding war. But who is currently available that could help bolster the squads?
A box-to-box, hard-working central midfielder, Callum Cooke is no stranger to the gritty circumstances of League Two, having previously played for Crewe Alexandra and Bradford City, as recent as last season. Cooke’s determination and commitment made him a fan favourite at Valley Parade, despite being on loan, as the midfield general who could control the movement of the ball from defence to attack.
Cooke was signed for an undisclosed fee by Peterborough United in 2018 from Middlesborough, after impressing at Blackpool on loan in League One, but failed to ever really get going at the Posh before eventually being transfer listed at the end of the 2018/19 campaign as the club looked to rebuild.
However, Cooke’s wage demands were too extortionate for a permanent transfer away to cement, and so Bradford agreed to pay a percentage of his wage on loan, however this could again be a deciding factor where Cooke ends up as it would have to be a more financially stable League Two side who are not facing the damages of the wage cap.
Cooke has so far been linked with moves back to Bradford, Bolton Wanderers and a few lower end League One sides, such as Crewe. I personally think he would be an excellent addition to Bradford, a side who currently have one recognised central midfielder in new signing Levi Sutton and he’s also familiar with West Yorkshire.
After seven years at the Crown Oil Stadium, Rochdale stalwart Ian Henderson has departed the club with a sentimental farewell. The 35 year old left the Dale after 297 appearances and 112 goals, which gave him a glowing reputation in the EFL resulting in an array of interest from League Two sides despite his age.
His commitment to Rochdale has evidenced the heart and passion he put into the shirt, something every club requires, his prolific finishing and his tactical outlook on the game which allows him to also get assists as well as goals, Henderson would be a fantastic addition to any side in the league.
In fact, Henderson is a proven bounty hunter in the EFL, netting 98 goals in the EFL since the 2014/15 season, which is the second most behind Luton striker Jame Collins by 3 goals, including 15 which he netted this season, making him the League One third top scorer.
Think about that, if he was 20 and the third top scorer in League One, he’d be linked with Championship sides, but his age means he’ll be an absolute steal for any League Two sides sniffing about. Henderson has so far been linked with moves to Carlisle United, Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City. I personally think he would be an excellent addition to Oldham Athletic, he’s familiar and lives in the Lancashire area and whilst the Latics are rivals to Rochdale, a club he now loves, he is unlikely to want to move too far from family and Oldham are lacking a real goal scoring prowess.
Attacker Otis Khan’s career may have stagnated slightly since he rose to the limelight for Yeovil Town all those years ago, but his release from Mansfield Town could be the best thing possible for the 24 year old. After joining the Stags in 2018, Khan has appeared in 43 games and managed just 3 goals, having a 5-game loan spell at Newport County in between, but the attacking midfielder will have to be wise in choosing his next club.
After appearing in 26 games in Mansfield’s underwhelming 2019/20 season, Khan was unable to make a worthy impact to the club’s surprise league finish as the Town finished the League Two campaign in 21st position on 38 points, but he has shown glimpses of his capabilities at times, his quick feet and attractive footwork, his eye for a pinpoint through ball or intelligent decision making, he certainly has potential.
Khan himself promised Newport fans when joining that the club he would get the fans “off their seats” and that he just wanted to “enjoy his football again”, so his attitude and love for the game should hopefully be enough for him to rejuvenate and revive his career which has taken a blip in recent seasons. Khan has so far been linked with a move to Oldham Athletic, Barrow and Mansfield Town. I personally think he would be an excellent addition to Barrow, as a newly promoted side who will most likely not have a huge wage bill Khan could be the playmaker to help get the newly promoted side up and running in England’s fourth tier.
Non-league journeyman Alex Woodyard is available on a free transfer this Summer after parting company with Peterborough United. Woodyard spent the latter of the 2019/20 campaign with relegated Tranmere Rovers, where he made just 10 appearances but wowed the devoted Rovers fan base, with many wanting him to return to Prenton Park for their return to League Two. Woodyard is in a similar situation to Cooke, a player signed by Peterborough for an undisclosed fee but failed to ever fasten to the club and therefore finds himself as a free agent with a number of clubs circling like sharks.
Woodyard traditionally plays as a central midfielder, but as more of a defensive minded contributor to the side. Despite not being a tall, physical midfielder, Woodyard is accomplished at breaking down the opponents attack with a strong tackle before getting his own team on their way with a short, simple, effective pass or a long, direct maybe even risky pass which could result in a goal. His short loan spell at a crestfallen Tranmere side was described by a Tranmere fan on Twitter, who said “A shame we couldn’t keep hold of him, but his quality performances certainly won’t be forgotten!”.
Woodyard has so far been linked with a move back to Tranmere Rovers, Leyton Orient and Colchester United. I personally think he would be an excellent addition to Tranmere, and it looks like it could be confirmed any day now as his knowledge of the club and brilliant efforts in such a short space of time has left fans vying for his return.
One shock departure from a League Two side was Brennan Dickenson, who left Exeter City after one season at the club. It’s rumoured he egress from St. James Park due to their financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus and the prospective wage cap, but his absence will certainly be missed.
A wand of a left foot, Dickenson is no stranger to League One having played for Colchester between 2016-2019 before brief stint at MK Dons in League One and even transitioning from left-back to left-wing identifying his versatility and ability to adapt to what his team needs.
In his 10 appearances at Exeter, Dickenson got an impressive eight goal contributions, four goals and four assists, just showing his outstanding ability for the level and why it was a huge mistake for Exeter to let him go. His wage demands would most likely mean that a higher end League Two side would have to come in with an offer, but he has proven during his time with Colchester and even Exeter that he could become a crucial part of a promotion push this season, after losing out in the play-off final to Northampton Town.
Dickenson has so far been linked with Newport County and Tranmere Rovers, but I personally believe he could be a smart investment by Mansfield Town. Mansfield are currently linked with Southend winger Stephen McLaughlin, but as that rumour appears to fade Dickenson could be an ideal alternative, a dynamic winger who is proven at this level and has reached the play-offs on numerous occasions, he could be a huge piece in the puzzle for the Stag’s promotion ambitions.
Who do you think should look at each of these players? Comment below!
Featured Image Credit – Sky Sports