League Two Predictions 18/19 Part Two

Yesterday, I published part one of this article, in which I ranked the first half of the teams in League Two, from Bury to Macclesfield. If you want to see that article, click here https://alloutfootball.co.uk/league-two-predictions-18-19-part-one/

Anyway, you know the drill, I am going to rank the remaining twelve teams, from Mansfield to Yeovil.

Just a side note, I am aware that the first round of League Two fixtures have already been played, but these predictions had been made beforehand.

Mansfield Town

  • Last Season Finish – 8th
  • Key Man – Jacob Mellis

Mansfield were unlucky to miss out on the play-offs last season, finishing one place below the play-offs and three points were what separated them and 7th placed Lincoln. They have made a couple of decent acquisitions in Craig Davies and Otis Khan, the former will bring a wealth of League Two experience to the table, though he is aging slightly. Their transfer business has lacked a marquee signing, and perhaps that is because David Flitcroft doesn’t see much room for improvement if he wants to succeed at League Two level and go one better than last season. The Stags have plenty of options in attack and midfield, but they need to add to their defensive options. If they are to succeed this season, they cannot have dips in form reminiscent of last season, where they suffered four back-to-back losses towards the end of the campaign. I think there are other sides in the division with more quality than Mansfield, though, and they may not live up to pre-season expectations.

Predicted Finish – 9th

Milton Keynes Dons

  • Last Season Finish – 23rd (relegated)
  • Key Man – Chuks Aneke

MK Dons had an unexpectedly bad season last season. Many bookies had them as favourites for promotion from League One, but a turbulent season saw them sack two managers as they suffered a relegation to League Two, just three years after they got promoted to the Championship. New manager Paul Tisdale has a difficult task on his hands, but he has done well to keep hold of players like Chuks Aneke, Callum Brittain and Alex Gilbey who have far too much quality for League Two. They have added to their squad with the signings of Jordan Moore-Taylor and Lawson D’Ath, and they have a great amount of depth at the back. Their squad is perhaps lacking a prolific goal scorer and another wide player, and goals were certainly a problem for the Dons last season, scoring the second-least in League One with just 43. However, the Dons have a quality squad with good depth all over the park and some players who really can do a job for them. It could be a good season for Dons fans.

Predicted Finish – 3rd

Morecambe

  • Last Season Finish – 22nd
  • Key Man – Aaron Wildig

Jim Bentley has a mammoth task on his hands. Morecambe only escaped relegation by four goals last season, and their summer business has not been convincing. They have made a plethora of average signings, with Jordan Cranston probably being the best one of the bunch. They desperately lacked goals last season and were the lowest scoring side in League Two with just 41 goals scored. They have tried to remedy this by signing a couple of strikers but they still need more width and still need to sign some defenders if they are going to have a better time of it next season. However, their transfer business, coupled with their current squad, hasn’t convinced me that they will have a less painful season this time round than they did last season. Shrimpers fans should probably strap themselves in for a miserable season.

Predicted Finish – 24th

Newport County

  • Last Season Finish – 11th
  • Key man – Padraig Amond

Newport County had a decent season last season after narrowly escaping relegation in the 16/17 season on the final day. They have suffered departures of two of their top first team players in Frank Nouble and Ben Tozer. However, they have added some decent signings to their side in Keanu Marsh-Brown, as well as using the loan market to their advantage, bagging some loans from bigger clubs. They have some good attacking options but they still need to bolster their midfield. They could also do with some more centre backs in the side in order to ensure that they can defend against teams much better as the 18/19 campaign starts. They need to improve their form on the road if they are to finish any higher than they did last season, but I think that they may find it a bit harder to get results this season as it is such a quality division.

Predicted Finish – 20th

Northampton Town

  • Last Season Finish – 22nd (relegated)
  • Key Man – John-Joe O’Toole

Northampton were another side who had a turbulent season last campaign at the hands of Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, who they soon sacked as it became apparent they were going down. They have done some good business in the window so far. One of the most promising signings is Junior Morias from Peterborough, who could really do a good job in League Two. The signing of Andy Williams is also a good League Two signing for them. They have also managed to keep hold of the bulk of their League One squad as they look to bounce back straightaway. They have depth all over the park, though perhaps they lack some wingers. They will certainly need to sure up their defence if they want to do well this season, as theirs was the worst defence in League One last season, conceding 77 times. However, in spite of this, I think things are looking up for the Cobblers this season.

Predicted Finish – 4th

Notts County

  • Last Season Finish – 5th
  • Key Man – Kane Hemmings

For me, Notts County are going to be the pace setters in the division this season. After a good season last season following two lower-mid table finishes in seasons before. They have made some absolutely fantastic signings in Enzio Boldewijn, David Vaughan, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and, the potential League Two top scorer this season, Kane Hemmings. I think that Hemmings could be the man to fire Notts County to promotion this season. Their squad as a whole is almost the perfect picture. They have good depth all over the park and, more importantly, they have quality all over the park. Kevin Nolan could have discovered the winning formula with his Magpies side this season. If they are to go one better than the play-offs this season, they will need to refrain from dropping points by drawing. They collected the fourth most amount of draws last season, and they need to find a way to turn those draws into wins in the new season.

Predicted Finish – 1st

Oldham Athletic

  • Last Season Finish – 21st (relegated)
  • Key Man – Jack Byrne

The last of the teams relegated from League One are Oldham Athletic, who went down on the final day of last season by one point. In the midst of devastation, it was important for manager Frankie Bunn to regroup with the squad and ensure they had a decent time of it in League Two. They have made a lot of signings in the summer, using the loan market particularly to their advantage, getting loanees from Premier League clubs. They lack a real marquee signing and their squad lacks a goal scorer after they lost Eoin Doyle midway through last season. Despite this, they have good depth at the back and good quality out wide. They will certainly need that depth at the back, as they had the second worst defence in League One last season, conceding 75 goals. This season will probably be one of rebuilding and trying to level the playing field somewhat for Oldham, and their fans shouldn’t be expectant of an immediate return to the third tier.

Predicted Finish – 13th

Port Vale

  • Last Season Finish – 20th
  • Key Man – Tom Pope

The last couple of seasons have been pretty dismal for Vale fans and they almost suffered a double relegation last season, but were relieved that they missed the drop by a mere point. Therefore, it is imperative that Vale put the last two seasons behind them and try to steady the ship somewhat. They have added Louis Dodds to their squad, who could prove to be a good signing, as well as the experienced Leon Legge to try and patch up their leaky defence. Their issue is that they have quite an old squad and they do lack depth in midfield. However, they do have quite a few good defensive options as well as depth going forward. Tom Pope will be relied upon by manager Neil Aspin to provide the goals that mean they have a more positive campaign. However, they haven’t convinced me that they have made a lot of improvement on last season, and it could be another testing season for Port Vale.

Predicted Finish – 22nd

Stevenage

  • Last Season Finish – 16th
  • Key Man – Danny Newton

Stevenage had a fairly average season last season and they managed to improve in the second half of it after it looked like they may be in trouble. New manager Dino Maamria managed to steady the ship and they look as if they are a reformed side. They have made some quality signings in Ben Nugent, Scott Cuthbert and Michael Timlin. They have also cleared out a lot of players that they do not want and this was inevitable considering the poor start to the season they had last season as well as the change in managerial personnel. They have lots of depth and quality going forward and at the back, and star man Danny Newton could be the man to fire them to success this season. I do think they need to bolster their midfield somewhat and improve when it comes to getting good results consistently, but I think that long suffering Stevenage fans may have something to cheer about this season.

Predicted Finish – 6th

Swindon Town

  • Last Season Finish – 9th
  • Key Man – Marc Richards

Swindon have suffered something of a fall from grace in the last couple of years. I remember them challenging for promotion in League One in the 14/15 season, only to suffer the drop two seasons later. Last season was probably slightly disappointing for Swindon fans as they failed to reach the play-offs, missing out by seven points, but manager Phil Brown has gone to some lengths over the summer window to ensure the same does not happen again. The signings of Jack McCourt, Jermaine McGlashan and Michael Doughty all look like good quality players, and they have also used the loan market very well. These signings have added to a strong midfield and attack, though they do need some more depth in defence, especially the full back position. Their main weakness was defending last season, conceding the most goals out of any team in the top half of the table with 65, but I do feel that Swindon fans will enjoy this season a lot more than they have enjoyed the last couple.

Predicted Finish – 5th

DSC_0683 ©Calyx Pictures
Swindon Town v Oxford United 1-2

Tranmere Rovers

  • Last Season Finish – 2nd (promoted)
  • Key Man – James Norwood

The National League play-off winners return to the Football League after a short absence and I think they are more than able to cope with the challenges that the Football League will present. It was a shock to most when they exited, so it almost seems right that they are back. They have kept the bulk of their promotion winning squad and have made a good signing in Ollie Banks, as well as using the loan market well. They were the second highest scoring side in the National League last season, but they have since lost Andy Cook, and need to ensure they can get goals from elsewhere, though it is likely that James Norwood will be able to provide them. They have a strong midfield and plenty of depth at the back, and I think Tranmere will have no problems in their first season back in League Two.

Predicted Finish – 11th

Yeovil Town

  • Last Season Finish – 19th
  • Key Man – Francois Zoko

Yeovil survived the drop to non-league by just 2 points last season in what was a pretty dire one for Glovers fans. They have since lost quite a few players and have used the loan market to try and bolster their squad. Despite this, they still haven’t really made any top signings and have mainly signed young players, and inexperience is certainly not what you need in a division as tough as League Two. They certainly need a few more out-and-out strikers as well as adding some depth and quality at the back, where they conceded 75 goals last season. Their midfield is decent, but I think Darren Way is going to have a very difficult task on his hands to keep Yeovil in the Football League. They will be reliant on striker Francois Zoko, but he is aging and is way past his prime. I doubt Yeovil will have enough to stay in the Football League this season

Predicted Finish – 23rd

That’s a wrap! The whole League Two table predicted. Here is how I think it will look come the end of the season.

  1. Notts County (C)
  2. Lincoln City (P)
  3. Milton Keynes Dons (P)
  4. Northampton Town
  5. Swindon Town (P)
  6. Stevenage
  7. Colchester United
  8. Exeter City
  9. Mansfield Town
  10. Bury
  11. Tranmere Rovers
  12. Crawley Town
  13. Oldham Athletic
  14. Forest Green Rovers
  15. Carlisle United
  16. Crewe Alexandra
  17. Grimsby Town
  18. Cambridge United
  19. Macclesfield Town
  20. Newport County
  21. Cheltenham Town
  22. Port Vale
  23. Yeovil Town (R)
  24. Morecambe (R)

What do you think the table will look like? Leave your thoughts below!